Bible translations in Ethiopia need funding

By July 10, 2017

Ethiopia (MNN) – In the Horn of Africa is the mountainous country of Ethiopia — a country that’s home to 88 living languages. Most of these languages, though, do not have a translation of the Bible.

A Country Without Scripture

(Photo courtesy of Christian Guthier via Flickr)

To paint the picture, Ethiopia, due to its geographical nature on the East Coast, is prone to natural disasters.  Also, Islamic nations and the threat of religious extremism or terrorists surround the country on three sides.

And because of its placement, Ethiopia receives a lot of refugees from its surrounding countries like Somalia and Sudan. For this reason, Ethiopia has become a type of melting pot — one with a lot of potential for the Gospel.

But Christians in Ethiopia have few resources to use themselves, let alone to use to share the Gospel; the biggest resource of all being the Bible.

Translating in Ethiopia

However, Wycliffe Associates is trying to change this and help provide Ethiopians with the Scripture in their native tongue by using its MAST (Mobilized Assistance Supporting Translation) program.

“We’ve got 15 languages that have already come to us, [and] are ready to start their Bible translation. We’re in the process of raising funds so we can respond positively to bring them the support they need,” Wycliffe Associates’ Bruce Smith shares.

“And we’re ready to teach them the MAST methodology of translation that will help them get their translations going quickly and get them to [the] conclusion in a short period of time as well.”

The MAST program helps to drastically cut translation time for the Bible translation process. The methodology uses multiple native language translators who each work on roughly 35 verses every single day. Then, the community of translators works together to check the translation drafts.

MAST works so well because it’s using the talents of multiple translators at once, therefore cutting down a significant amount of the time that is normally needed to translate the Bible over a period of years. Learn more about the MAST program here!

Bible Translation Challenges

Although the MAST method cuts time and costs, there are still tangible resources needed to make a translation happen. Sadly, Ethiopian Christians have been blocked from translating the Bible because of poverty.

(Photo courtesy of Wycliffe Associates via Facebook)

Many Ethiopians are farmers, and with the on-going drought in East Africa, monetary gains have been little to none. However, the Global Church can help break through this roadblock.

“These workshops are averaging a cost of about $20,000 a piece, which sounds like a lot of money in a short period of time,” Smith explains.

“But when you compare it to the costs of sustaining translation over a period of 10-20 years [and] the translation [time] that is often required, it’s really quite economical. But we’re looking for funding specifically for these 15 workshops. Our short-term goal is to raise $300,000 in order to get all of these translation moving.”

Smith also shares that despite the challenges Ethiopian Christians are facing, they’re ready to sacrifice and invest what they have for the translation projects.

How to Help

So please, will you pray?

Pray for the Ethiopian church leaders’ and Christians’ encouragement, protection, and wisdom through the Bible translation process. Please also pray for the funding and support needed to make these translations a reality.

For example, even giving just $5 can go a long way in getting God’s Word into the language of His believers. To donate, click here!


  • The idea translating the Bible is great Idea but the way you interpret it should be free from your religious belief (your church doctrine) and in Ethiopian case I saw some Bible interpretation in to Amharic was totally wrong and not acceptable and the Ethiopian Bible society makes a lot mistakes before, I hope you are not going to make the same mistakes again


  • Joseph Owens says:

    Probably over 90% of Ethiopians already have a complete Bible or New Testament translation completed. It breaks my heart to see so much effort and money go to small group translations when millions of Christians with completed scriptures can not get them. Some scriptures are even out of print. Let’s raise millions to print the scriptures. Joseph

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