Those who speak English have access to hundreds of Bible translations. Choosing one, or several, can be overwhelming. But many people around the world don’t have even one Bible translation in the language they speak every day. Around 1,900 unreached people groups are currently waiting for translation to begin – many of these spoken languages have yet to be written.
At Wycliffe Bible Translators, we believe God wants everyone to have an accurate translation of the Bible in a language they can clearly understand. The good news is that, for the first time in the history of the Church, there are more Bible translation programs underway than there are remaining translations to be started. We are witnessing an unprecedented acceleration of the pace of translation, and more people have more access to the Eternal Word of God than ever before! If we work in partnership and with a sense of urgency, by God’s grace, every people group will have some Scripture by the year 2025.
God is working in new ways today, and as a result, models for Bible translation programs are changing. In the past, Bible translation was usually done by a cross-cultural worker who was assigned to one people group and spent most of his/her life working on just one translation. Today our role as cross-cultural workers is changing from leading a single project to providing training and consultant help, often for several projects. People groups needing translation are coming to us with their own translation goals, requesting that we help them as partners to reach those goals.
Today translators from people groups speaking similar languages often work side-by-side helping each other. This means that multiple translations benefit from one investment of resources, such as training and expert advice from a highly qualified linguist/translator.
As translation software continues to be developed and improved, translators can better organize translation work and “piggyback” off translations completed in related languages. Satellites enable consultants to check translations for naturalness and accuracy from distant locations.
God’s Word always changes lives — and he is using new means to communicate! People in remote locations are now engaging with completed Scriptures in their language using cell phones.
In God’s timing, the unprecedented pace of Bible translation is motivating many to become a part of finishing the task. We believe our vision of seeing a Bible translation started in every unreached people group by the year 2025 is becoming reality.
This article originally appeared in the NAE Insight.