Several news media outlets such as the Deseret News and the Salt Lake Tribune report that beginning this October General Conference, the Church will permit speakers to give their talks in their native language. Cited as an example of the internationalization of the LDS Church, this change in policy has been long overdue and may improve the perception of the compatibility of the Church with other cultures and societies. Additionally, this development may indicate that additional progress will be made with the calling of General Authorities who do not speak English at all in the coming months and years ahead.
The Church has made some significant progress translating its General Conference proceedings to a wider audience. In 1988, General Conference was translated into only 12 languages (see article). Currently the Church reports that proceedings are translated into 94 languages, although only 70 of these languages can be accessed via the Church's website.
Utilizing English as the Church's language for administration has significantly simplified its operations, but has also conveyed a sense that it is Ameri-centric and reinforces centralization. I am curious what steps the Church will take to translate General Conference talks given in the speaker's native language into languages other than English. I imagine that these talks will likely be translated first into English, and then into other languages. The Church has utilized Spanish translations for many years to translate talks into Amerindian languages such as Aymara, Q'eqchi', and Quichua, and this pattern would likely be easiest and most efficient for translation. However, like a game of telephone, nuances and deeper meanings may be lost through this process, which creates challenges for maintaining doctrinal purity and ensuring translations are accurate.
On a topic related to translation work, the Church recently updated its statistical page on mormonnewsroom.org and now reports 189 published languages. This new total is 13 higher than the total provided in 2011. Unfortunately, the Church has not published a comprehensive list of all languages into which it has translated at least one church material. If anyone has information on what languages have recently had materials translated, please comment. See here for my missiology encyclopedia entry on "Languages with LDS Materials."