Frequently Asked Questions about SIL
1. What kind of organization is SIL?
SIL International is a non-profit, scientific, educational organization of Christian volunteers that specializes in serving the lesser-known language communities of the world through linguistics, literacy and translation of the Bible. SIL's workers live among the people of these communities while seeking to understand their cultures and learn their languages. SIL specializes in the application of linguistic research to the literacy and translation needs of the minority language community. In partnership with these communities, SIL helps the communities to develop the skills and capacity to preserve their cultures and languages in a way that serves the people best.
2. Does SIL teach English and other languages of Peru?
SIL is not a language teaching institute, but the grammars, dictionaries and other language material developed for languages of Peru and the world are available on the web for anyone interested in studying them. The work that SIL does is specifically for language communities and their needs.
3. Does SIL provide training in linguistics, anthropology, literacy and translation?
There are a number of sites worldwide where SIL holds classes in linguistics, anthropology, literacy and translation. One such school is CILTA in Lima, Peru. Anyone with the appropriate educational background can enroll in the SIL training - http://www.sil.org/program/cilta.
4. Can I work with SIL in Peru or in some other country?
SIL members are volunteers. In addition to fieldworkers in applied linguistics, some technical people are needed for IT and computer support, publications and accounting along with international advisors in linguistics, literacy, sociolinguistics, anthropology and translation. National organizations from various countries also recruit members to serve under SIL.
5. Where did the organization's name come from?
In 1934, William Cameron Townsend began linguistics and anthropology courses for students interested in fieldwork in the international context. They were held in the summer, when schools were normally not in session. Because of this seasonal schedule, Townsend labeled the training the Summer Institute of Linguistics. SIL International has now been adopted as the public name and is known in Peru as the Instituto Lingüístico de Verano.
6. Where is the international headquarters of SIL?
The SIL International headquarters is located in Dallas, Texas.