Bible translation efforts continue during lockdowns

By September 18, 2020

Worldwide (MNN) — Wycliffe Associates has not let the ongoing pandemic keep them moving forward with Bible translation.

“We’ve adapted to the local situation in each country, especially countries where we have local staff,” CEO Bruce Smith says. “So by listening to them, we actually were able to resume after a brief disruption in the spring, we were actually able to resume our Bible translation training workshops in May. And throughout the summertime, we’ve seen a continuing surge and an expansion of sort of getting back to our previous pace.”

Wycliffe Associates currently has about 20 international team members on the ground as their eyes and ears in the countries they’re servicing.

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Technology plays a major role in Bible translation, and that’s especially true now that certain countries face restrictions. Wycliffe Associates’ goal is to supply local translators with tablets housing virtual tools to safely and securely aid in the process.

“The technology really supports the process,” Smith says. “This is the feedback that we get from the local church leaders, from the local Christians that are using the translation process and using the translated Scripture. The reality is that technology is the support. We’re just providing the tools.”

In the event that translators have to stop translating due to loss of internet access or scrutiny by the local government, the work that has been completed is safe and secure in the cloud.

Mother-tongue translators are the wheels that keep this process moving smoothly. They are the “brain” in the project using “their intimate knowledge of their language and their culture,” Smith says.

Travel restrictions due to COVID-19 have made it more difficult to set up MAST (Mobilized Assistance Supporting Translation) workshops, but Smith has said that many translators have still managed to travel through dangerous countries to attend a recent workshop Wycliffe Associates was able to put together.

“The work of translating God’s Word already was challenging, especially in remote areas of the world, and especially in places of intense anti-Christian persecution,” he says. “Then came the coronavirus.”

Smith says that they are encouraged by the work that they’ve still been able to do despite the pandemic and restrictions that came along with it. “As those ease up, we’ll seize those opportunities as God opens them.”

Mother-tongue translators have translated 383 New Testament Scriptures, which is no small feat.

“It’s an eternal value for the people in those communities. Having the testimonies and having God’s words in their own language for the first time in their entire history makes an eternal difference that is bringing people to salvation. It’s encouraging Christians who are persecuted for their faith, [and] it’s bringing light into dark corners of the world that previously hadn’t had them,” Smith says.

We can do our part to help Wycliffe Associates in their efforts to provide the Gospel in every language by praying and, if possible, donating. They have set a goal to provide 1,000 tablets to local translators at $300 each.

Wycliffe Associates is an international organization that empowers Bible translators and works with local churches in its advancement.



Feature photo courtesy of Wycliffe Associates

Help us get the word out: