The people who speak 619 different languages, and who don’t have a Bible in their languages, are asking for help. Wycliffe Associates, an international organization involving people in the advancement of Bible translation, has received requests to launch Bible translation projects from 619 language groups worldwide, including groups in Democratic Republic of the Congo, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and Nigeria.
“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.
In 2014 Wycliffe Associates piloted a new, collaborative Bible translation method known as Mobilized Assistance Supporting Translation, or MAST, which significantly reduces translation time. Traditionally, translations of the New Testament into another language have taken as long as 25 to 30 years.
Since the first MAST workshop in South Asia, more than 1,250 Bible translation projects have started using MAST.
“Word keeps spreading from one language group to another about the tools, technology, and training,” said Smith.
Along with the training that mother-tongue translators receive in a MAST workshop, Wycliffe Associates also provides them with computer tablets loaded with translation software. In addition to helping translators work efficiently and safeguard their work, the tablets also help ensure the safety of translators who need to work discreetly in places where Christians face intense persecution, even the threat of death. Wycliffe Associates has distributed 5,485 tablets in 67 countries so far.
Compact, high-speed printing systems are also part of the portable and discreet tools that Wycliffe Associates provides to language groups involved in Bible translation, which allows the translators to immediately distribute copies of the Scripture portions they’ve completed. To date, the organization has installed 90 of these print-on-demand (PODs) units in 31 countries.
“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.
One of the world’s leading Bible translation organizations, Wycliffe Associates was organized in 1967 by friends of Bible translators to accelerate the work of Bible translation. 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 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 92 countries. For more information, please see www.wycliffeassociates.org.