For the first time ever, the number of Bible translations in progress outnumbers languages without a project underway, according to new statistics announced recently by Wycliffe Bible Translators.
Today, there are reportedly 2,075 Scripture translation projects in progress and just 1,967 languages still in need for a translation project to begin.
“These statistics are very important in showing progress toward our goal of seeing a Bible translation in progress in every language community needing it by 2025,” reported Bob Creson, President of Wycliffe USA, in a recent announcement. “They demonstrate, not only to ourselves, but to those who invest in us and those we invite to join us, that what we are doing is making a difference in the pursuit of our God-given mission.”
Wycliffe Bible Translators, along with partners and affiliated organizations like The Seed Company and SIL International, have strived to eradicate Bible poverty so that all language communities will have the opportunity to be transformed by God’s Word and ultimately reflect God’s glory.
And thanks in part to new technologies and strategies, the process of translation – which often involves first working in partnership with local communities to create a written form of the language – has been expedited. By using new creative approaches (team-based approaches that employ computer and satellite technology), Wycliffe and their partners have been able to translate the Bible more efficiently.
According to Wycliffe, an estimated 5.4 billion people now have access to at least some of the Bible in their first language. The languages that may have a need for Bible translation to begin, meanwhile, represent an estimated 209 million people worldwide. The 1,967 languages still in need of a Bible translation furthermore represent less than 29 percent of the estimated 6,800 languages spoken around the world.
“Every generation before us has seen the numbers increasing as more and more languages were discovered, and more translation needs were verified,” shared Creson. “Now that trend has been reversed.”
According to Wycliffe, the majority of the remaining translation needs represent minority languages – relatively small people groups, many of which struggle to maintain their identity in the shadow of majority cultures.
Still, Wycliffe says it and its partners are committed to beginning new projects as well as to completing the ones underway, engaging people with the Scriptures, and meeting holistic needs of communities with materials in their mother tongues.
PHOTO ABOVE: Image courtesy of www.wycliffe.org.
Published: December 13, 2012