(Orlando, Florida, USA)—Wycliffe Associates, an international organization involving people in the advancement of Bible translation, plans to launch hundreds of Bible translation projects over the next 90 days. This effort will utilize MAST (Mobilized Assistance Supporting Translation), a collaborative, rapid-translation method that significantly reduces translation time.
Through MAST, Wycliffe Associates works in conjunction with local churches to equip and train national translators to quickly produce high-quality Bible translations and get them into the hands of their language group.
“Day after day, Christians in one language group after another are reaching out to us with urgent pleas for MAST translation workshops and translation technology,” says Bruce Smith, President and CEO of Wycliffe Associates.
During a MAST workshop, mother-tongue translators work together in parallel to translate books of the Bible while maintaining the highest levels of accuracy and quality. Translators typically complete an entire New Testament translation in a matter of months rather than taking many years
Wycliffe Associates supplies computer tablets equipped with translation software, along with online accessibility for collaborating, storing translations, and protecting the translators’ work. The translators are also trained to use the equipment and software. Once they have the tablets in hand, MAST-trained translators can begin work on a new translation quickly.
In late 2014, the organization piloted its first MAST workshop in Asia, where mother-tongue translators were able to complete about 34 verses per day. The result was a draft of 48 percent of the New Testament in their language in two weeks.
“Christians desperately want to begin translating the Scriptures into the language of their people,” says Smith, “because some of their people have been waiting for generations.”
In areas marked by poverty, persecution, and political upheaval, Wycliffe Associates hopes to provide 1,585 national translators with fully equipped tablets over the next 90 days, at a cost of $300 each. Wycliffe Associates is currently raising funds to purchase the tablets.
“It is possible for the work to go forward the old-fashioned way, without computer tablets,” Smith says, “But it’s slow, painstaking, and dangerous. Translators wind up with only a handwritten copy of their work, not backed up or stored anywhere, easily seized or destroyed. We’ve seen this happen, tragically, in hostile areas.”
Currently there are more than 3,700 New Testament translations in progress. Since the first MAST workshop two years ago, 558 new translation projects have been launched using the breakthrough method.
“In nation after nation, I’ve witnessed the power of God’s Word, presented for the first time in the heart language of a people,” says Smith. “It’s absolutely thrilling.”
Of the 7,097 languages spoken in the world, there are 2,758 languages that still need a Bible translation project started.
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.
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