aaron burden

Technology means 600 language groups are requesting a Bible translation

Wed 06 Feb 2019
By Cara Bentley

Copies of the New Testament can now be produced in languages in months instead of years.

People groups in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Nigeria have asked for the Bible in their vernacular.

Wycliffe Associates, an international Bible translation organisation, say they have received requests to launch Bible translation projects from 619 language groups worldwide.

"When they hear that the entire New Testament can now be translated in just months, they're astonished, and they plead for a chance," said Bruce Smith, President and CEO of Wycliffe Associates.

A translation method known as MAST (Mobilised Assistance Supporting Translation) significantly reduces translation time by training people on the ground translating in their mother-tongue, computer tablets with translation software and high-speed printing. 

Translations have sometimes taken 25 to 30 years but since 2014, when the MAST workshops started in South Africa, more than 1,250 Bible translation projects have started. 

"Word keeps spreading from one language group to another about the tools, technology, and training," said Smith.

The tablets they use are also designed to make sure the work remains discreet for those who could face persecution, sometimes even death, if it was discovered that they were producing a Bible in their own language. 

Wycliffe Associates has distributed 5,485 tablets in 67 countries and the compact, high-speed printing systems are also created to be portable and discreet whhilst allowing the translators to immediately distribute copies of the Scripture sections they've completed.

The organisation has installed 90 print-on-demand units in 31 countries so far. 

"For generations, Bible translation was a difficult and slow process, shackled by what 'couldn't' be done, where we 'couldn't' go," said Smith.

"Today, by God's grace, we're leaving 'can't' behind. In places we could never work before due to violence and persecution, God has opened doors."

Wycliffe Associates' goal is a Bible in every language by 2025.

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