A Tyndale/Gutenberg moment for the Deaf

By February 25, 2015
(Photo courtesy Faith Comes By Hearing)

(Photo courtesy Deaf Bible)

International (DB) — Deaf Bible and DOOR (Deaf Opportunity OutReach) International are announcing an agreement that further aligns the two ministries in their work to both translate and make available sign language Bible content in over 350 sign languages around the world. With only 2% of the global Deaf population having ever been exposed to the Gospel, these partnering organizations are publicly stating their goal to eradicate Bible poverty in this often-overlooked people group.

DOOR International has worked for over 15 years in training Deaf leaders in evangelism, discipleship, church planting, and leadership development so they can impact their countries and communities with the Gospel.

In 2004 it became clear that this training cannot be done effectively without God’s Word in the heart language of the Deaf: sign language. As a result, DOOR International joined the Wycliffe Global Alliance and began work in sign language Bible translation. DOOR now has projects in 12 sign languages, with 4 more to begin this year.

While not a translation organization, Deaf Bible is committed to doing everything possible to assist in the process and support of every project. They will also be prepared to provide ready and free access to the completed Bible content through apps, online, or whatever new technology presents itself to reach the Deaf worldwide with the Gospel.

“What we really see ourselves as is translation accelerators,” says JR Bucklew, the director of Deaf Bible. “Whether it’s raising funds, providing support material and labor, or working on the newest tech innovations, we will do everything within our power to open God’s Word to the Deaf.”

“This partnership is really a Tyndale/Gutenberg moment in sign language Bible translation,” adds Rob Myers, CEO of DOOR International.

In the early 1500s, William Tyndale began making the Bible available to the people of England in their own language. However, it was only possible to distribute Tyndale’s Bible because of Gutenberg’s printing press, which had come along years earlier. In the same way, DOOR International would be hard-pressed to make their translations available to workers in the field if not for technologies that Deaf Bible has developed.

Another focus for both ministries is to establish accepted standards to guide current and future sign language translation work.

“Just like in written translation work, it’s important that sign language translators are all on the same page and following best practices that have been developed over time by those in the field,” states Myers.

Both ministries also encourage others who are working with the Deaf around the world to join this effort. Click if you’d like to donate to either Deaf Bible or DOOR International.

“Just as we’re commanded to work together as the Body of Christ, we eagerly anticipate organizations coming together so that all the Deaf can have God’s Word in their own sign language,” concludes Bucklew.

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