International (MNN) — The Deaf community is so often forgotten when it comes to reaching people with the Gospel. DOOR International is partnering with Deaf Harbor to create resources for the training of translation teams.
“When we think about, as Christians, how saturated our lives are with God’s Word, many Deaf people do not have any access to that at all because the translation is not available in their heart language,” DOOR’s President/CEO Rob Myers says. “So because of the urgency of the Gospel, because we want to see Deaf people’s lives transformed by knowing, following, and being able to serve God with the gifts God’s given them, they have to have access to God’s Word in their heart language.”
DOOR recognizes the importance of having locals within the communities they reach be a part of the translation process and, according to their website, their goal is to “equip Deaf disciple-makers.”
“ Translations need to happen on a local level because people within a people group know their language best,” Myers says. “So that translation’s going to be accepted well. It’s going to be used by the community because it’s developed by people within the community.”
There are over 350 sign languages worldwide, but less than 10% of them have any Scripture translations. “Sign language Bible translation is a critical need for us to be able to see the Great Commission happen in our lifetimes,” he says.
The American Sign Language (ASL) is the only sign language to have a full Bible translation, and that just happened this Fall. Since sign language is a visual language, the translations are done on video.
Many spoken languages have various resources available to aid them in the translation process, but for those in the Deaf community, that doesn’t exist. DOOR and Deaf Harbor’s new partnership is hoping to change that.
“We’re going to be partnering with them, getting some of their own perspectives and expertise, and trying to produce some translation resources,” Myers says. “Our hope is that that really will help accelerate the translation process.”
Even though acceleration is the goal, accuracy will still be key. “[Accuracy] is very close to the heart of DOOR in terms of producing God’s Word,” he says. Myers says that two values that are key within the organization are the “urgency of the Gospel” and accuracy.
“This is God’s Holy Word and so when we translate it, we’re actually setting theology for these communities for generations to come. So if we don’t do that well, we can actually be damaging some of these communities,” he says.
Bible translation is such a major component of getting the Gospel to the world, yet there’s still a huge need for it.
“There are whole people groups that are dying right now not having access to God’s Word in their heart language, and those include Deaf communities, so there’s an urgency to get God’s Word out to these communities as quickly as possible.”
Feature photo courtesy of Pixabay