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August 2, 2021

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Wycliffe Associates Seeks to Accelerate Bible Translation for Remaining Languages in Southeast Asian Country, Citing Persecution of Christians

3 min read


(Orlando, Florida, USA)—Wycliffe Associates, an international organization involving people in the advancement of Bible translation, is working to close the gap for the remaining languages in in a country in Southeast Asia that are without any of the Scriptures.

Of the 120 living languages in this country, 34 major language groups are currently without translations of any portions of the Bible.

“Some people groups have waited more than a century to read God’s Word in their own language,” says Bruce Smith, President and CEO of Wycliffe Associates. “The Christians are ready to do the work. The churches are setting up translation teams. All they need are the resources.”

Wycliffe Associates intends to hold MAST workshops (Mobilized Assistance Supporting Translation) to launch the remaining language projects. MAST is a collaborative, rapid-translation method first piloted by Wycliffe Associates and National Bible translators in this country in 2014, which drastically reduces translation time. At the first workshop, 13 national translators drafted half the New Testament in two weeks. Before this new methodology for Bible translation was developed it normally would take several years for the New Testament to be translated.

In 2016, Wycliffe Associates launched 315 new translation projects and completed the New Testament in 58 languages using MAST.

“Thanks to the revolutionary MAST strategy, language groups don’t have to wait for Westerners to translate the Scriptures for them,” says Smith. “They can do it on their own—and at dramatically higher speeds than ever before.”

Wycliffe Associates is especially interested in accelerating Bible translation in this country due to the intense persecution and isolation of Christians there. Christians who share the gospel openly can face persecution and even imprisonment.

“One translator tearfully told us her father came to Christ but has struggled to hang on to his faith because the persecution is so intense. It is not like here in the West, where you can find a supportive Christian community close by,” says Smith. “Many, many Christians in this country are isolated, living hours away from the nearest church, separated by impossible mountains, dangerous gorges, and daunting terrain. Many live in deep poverty.”

The cost of a MAST workshop is approximately $19,500. Wycliffe Associates provides the technology and funding for transporting translation team members over incredibly difficult terrain in this country to the workshops.

“Even though the finish line is in sight, it will all come to a screeching halt if we can’t provide the support for those who are still waiting,” Smith says.


About Wycliffe Associates

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. Last year, 7,097 Wycliffe Associates staff and volunteers worked to speed Bible translations in 76 countries. For more information, please see www.wycliffeassociates.org.