In many parts of the world, giving out Bibles will get you tortured – or worse. That’s also true for Wycliffe Bible translators working to give people a Bible in their own language. Now, Print On Demand is changing that.
Wycliffe, an international organization that empowers mother-tongue Bible translators and partners with local churches in the advancement of Bible translation, is using technology to protect and empower Bible translators working in regions of intense persecution for Christians.
Print On Demand, high capacity equipment is readily available to anyone in the western world. Now that technology can allow Bible translators to quickly print the Scriptures from a flash drive, whether a few or many books, and then distribute them before those opposed to the Bible even notice.
It’s helping protect the translator as well as the thousands who receive it. Another upside is that Wycliffe Associates can also train workers to operate and maintain the equipment once it’s installed.
It’s a solution to a real problem.
Bible translators have two imposing obstacles in completing their work around the world. First, in over 50 countries it is illegal to own, read and distribute the Scriptures. And secondly, our Copyrighted Bibles we take for granted in America make it really expensive to use as a source for translation. So, Wycliffe Associates pioneered an Open Source Bible for all Translators to use at no charge. Print on Demand therefore allows Translators to print the Bible in secret to avoid persecution and makes the distribution inexpensive.
117 systems in 41 countries – each system costs around $25,000
It is a crime in 51 countries to own or read the Bible
6,257 Tablets distributed in 67 countries – these tablets have Bible translation software
1,031 Bible translation Recording Kits – these are used to translate the oral languages
“This is the missing link for national Bible translation teams who have been working tirelessly, risking their very lives, translating God’s Word in some of the most difficult and dangerous places on earth, places where Christianity is against the law, and national Bible translators have had to work in secret,” said Bruce Smith, President and CEO of Wycliffe Associates.
Wycliffe Associates plans to deliver high-capacity, Print On Demand equipment to national Bible translators for hundreds of language groups, which will make it possible to discreetly ramp up production of thousands of copies of the Scriptures.
“They want to be able to read, study, and absorb the Word themselves, in the safety of their own homes, or share the Scriptures quietly, discreetly, with those they love,” Smith said.
The Print On Demand units are critical tools once a Bible translation is completed. With over 1,350 translations currently in progress using the MAST (Mobilized Assistance Supporting Translation) translation method, Bible translators will need a way to print and distribute the Scriptures once they have finished the translation process.
MAST accelerates the Bible translation process as mother-tongue translators work collaboratively to translate the Scriptures into their language. When Wycliffe Associates first piloted a MAST program in 2014, a team of 13 translators working 12-hour days drafted 48 percent of the New Testament in two weeks.
Today, 318 New Testaments have been completed using MAST.
“In some places where translation is already complete, we’ve seen how God moves when we provide Print On Demand units,” said Smith. “Response was so great—hunger for the truth of the Word was so strong—that we quickly needed to print not just a few copies, but thousands of copies of the Scriptures.”
The cost for each Print On Demand unit, installed, is $25,000. Wycliffe Associates is raising funds to respond to three new requests for units.
Because millions of people around the world still wait to have the Scriptures in the language of their hearts, 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. Wycliffe Associates is directly involved with speeding Bible translation by providing technology, training, resources, logistics, networking, expertise, volunteers, discipleship, church planting, and support. Wycliffe Associates staff and volunteers are currently accelerating Bible translations in 108 countries. For more information, please see www.wycliffeassociates.org.
–Metro Voice Staff