Sign language Bible translation gains new standards

By May 1, 2017
DOOR_sign language bible translation

International (MNN) — It’s fair to say that any industry — catering, law, health, you name it — has its own set of standards, or ‘best practices’. Why should sign language Bible translation be any different?

DOOR_sign language bible translation

(Photo courtesy of DOOR International)

“Hearing organizations have been doing Bible translation for hundreds of years, but it’s only been within the past 20 or 30 years that sign language Bible translation has even been considered, or even begun to take place,” says Rob Myers of DOOR International.

Thanks to the work of several Deaf ministries, including DOOR, “We now have standards for sign language Bible translation that all organizations should be following.”

It took approximately one year for the Deaf Development Group at Forum of Bible Agencies International (FOBAI) to develop and approve the translation standards. They were then brought to the FOBAI board a couple of weeks ago for consideration, and the board approved them.

Learn about some of the new standards here.

“[Sign language Bible translation is] probably going to be one of the biggest needs in fulfilling the Great Commission and fulfilling this idea that every people group needs a Bible in their heart language,” Myers notes.

There are more than 400 sign languages, and DOOR’s Deaf teams are translating God’s Word into more of them each year. You can help by supporting this work.

“Out of those 400 sign languages estimated right now, only five percent…have any published Scripture at all,” says Myers. “Only about ten percent have some sort of work that’s happening, so there’s a huge need out there.

DOOR_sign language Bible translation_editors

(Photo courtesy of DOOR International)

“Please be in prayer for the Bible translation work that’s happening right now, as well as the many sign languages that do not yet have Bible translation work started.”

  • Pray for DOOR’s Deaf translation teams as they strive to put God’s Word in the heart sign languages of Deaf people worldwide.
  • Pray for DOOR’s partner organizations as they work together to get sign language Scripture to the global Deaf community .
  • Ask the Lord how He would like you to support sign language Bible translation.


  • Willis Ott says:

    This is very interesting. This article seems to imply that the functioning signing projects have had no standards up to this point. Would it not been more in the interest of reality to have shaped the article to communicate that DOOR brought together the principles from multiple signing projects and published them in a single document? It seems to me that no one should claim that they are the “discoverers” of principle such as these.

  • Bob styles says:


    You are right. It was actually multiple agencies that led the initiative over several years. DOOR attended these meetings and contributed but certainly did not lead the initiative. It’s been frustrating that this announcement didn’t come from the Forum of Bible Agencies Deaf Development Group who actually led this development. Oh well it’s typical of DOOR to do this.

  • Praise the Lord! It is exciting to see Christian organizations come together and work together for God’s kingdom to advance! We are excited to see God complete this work through our Deaf and hearing friends around the world!

  • Izzie Xu says:

    Interesting article. Thank you for the effort and great work. I hope this can bless more deaf people.

  • Katey Hearth says:

    Thank you for your feedback, Willis, and I’m sorry you received such a negative impression from this article.

    This particular paragraph states that the standards were a product of multiple groups: “Thanks to the work of DOOR and several other Deaf ministries, ‘We now have standards for sign language Bible translation that all organizations should be following’.”

  • Katey Hearth says:

    I appreciate your feedback, Bob, and I’m sorry you received such a negative impression from this article.

  • Katey Hearth says:

    Thank you Darlene!

  • Dear brothers and sisters, We in MegaVoice are thrilled to sense the growing momentum around the globe, to bring the Gospel to this massive group of hearing impaired people, of “every tribe and tongue and nation.” I want you to be encouraged in that task. We in MegaVoice International are committed to providing you all with advanced, low cost, hand-held units, to take your Signed Bibles, “To the ends of the earth.” Thank you for a sterling effort.

    Please keep building up one another as we do another “awesome thing” for the King of Kings.

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