In a region where conversion to Christianity is punishable by death, Wycliffe Associates plans to launch 10 new Bible translation projects in the next 30 days. The projects will employ the MAST (Mobilized Assistance Supporting Translation) strategy, a breakthrough method of translating the books of the Bible in parallel.
MAST makes it possible for a full team of mother-tongue translators to draft a translation of the complete New Testament in as little as one year.
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“Our breakthrough MAST strategy is accelerating Bible translation beyond anything we could have imagined, even a couple of years ago,” says Bruce Smith, president and CEO of Wycliffe Associates. “It’s not Westerners going into remote areas—it’s nationals being equipped to translate God’s Word themselves.”
Organized in 1967 by friends of Bible translators, Wycliffe Associates empowers national Bible translators to provide God’s Word in their own language, partners with the local church to direct and guard translation work, harnessing their passion and desire for God’s Word, and engages people from all around the world to provide resources, technology, training, and support for Bible translation. Because millions of people around the world still wait to read the Scriptures in the language of their heart, Wycliffe Associates is working as quickly as it can to see every verse of God’s Word translated into every tongue to speak to every heart. Last year, 6,279 Wycliffe Associates staff and volunteers worked to speed Bible translations in 75 countries.
While more new languages can be translated faster than ever before, the risk is great in areas where Christians are targeted for severe persecution. Wycliffe Associates cannot send trainers in for lengthy periods of time because Christians are hunted down, and vigilantes can sweep into an area without notice.
“Yes, it’s dangerous,” says Smith. “But so many people still have never seen God’s Word in their own heart language. We don’t know how long we have to train national translators before they’ll be on the run.”
Violence has forced Bible translators to evacuate their homes. Other translators have had to suspend their translation work due to the persecution.
“They have no one to support them in their work,” Smith says, “because it’s dangerous for outsiders.”
Wycliffe Associates is currently raising $400,000 to launch 80 translation projects in volatile areas of the world. The organization plans to launch the first 10 of these 80 projects within the next 30 days.
As part of beginning a new language project, national translators are trained to translate the Scriptures using MAST, which reduces translation time while still producing an accurate translation.
Translators also are equipped with technology that allows them to work discreetly—and even on the run. In addition, they receive digital tools that facilitate collaboration, enabling translators to work simultaneously and share information instantly.
“These Christians are crying out for translator training,” says Smith. “Their people long for God’s Word in the language of their heart. The MAST strategy will mean a whole new day for them.”