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Amid COVID-19, Wycliffe Associates’ Developed Web-Based Program Helps Bible Translators to Work, Collaborate Remotely

April 27, 2020 | Orlando, Florida

(Orlando, Florida, USA)—Wycliffe Associates, an international organization working with national translators with close to 1,200 languages in progress, is expanding its Bible translation technological reach with V-MAST, a video conferencing version of the MAST (Mobilized Assistance Supporting Translation) methodology.

Initially developed as a collaboration tool to allow national Bible translators to collaborate across great distances across national boundaries and remote areas, the V-MAST technology will be used by Bible translators in the midst of COVID-19 social distancing and quarantines.

V-MAST is a web-based program designed to enable Bible translators to use the MAST methodology remotely through a virtual event via an internet connection.

Wycliffe Associates has seen an immediate increase in demand for this service from Bible translators and is scrambling to widen its use across the globe.

“When we developed V-MAST, we had no idea its use would be called upon in such a way as this,” commented Bruce Smith, President and CEO of Wycliffe Associates. “The COVID-19 pandemic is a horrible thing to come upon humanity, yet God is using V-MAST to show us something very powerful.”

MAST workshop facilitators have found that V-MAST is also an effective tool for teaching the MAST methodology step by step when participants are at the same location and connecting via a local server. The essential steps of MAST are programmed into the software, guiding the translators as they work.

As millions around the world have transitioned to video conferencing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, V-MAST will immediately impact translation projects around the world. In the United States, volunteer Bible translators working remotely are using V-MAST to continue translating the Bible into Symbolic Universal Notation (SUN), a written, concept-based language that Wycliffe Associates has created for the Deaf and Blind/Deaf. Users of SUN can begin learning the language, consisting of 100 core symbols, in less than a week.

The SUN New Testament was completed and dedicated earlier this year, and work is now underway on the Old Testament. The SUN language will bring the gospel to the hearts and minds of more than 70 million people for the first time who are born deaf.

Despite the obstacles to Bible translation imposed by COVID-19, Wycliffe Associates has seen an increase in the number of completed translations. “One highlight that caught my eye during March was the completion of 40 New Testaments and 4 Old Testaments,” said Smith, which brings New Testament completions to 106 and Old Testament completions to six for the 2020 fiscal year so far.

To date, translators have used V-MAST to translate the Scriptures into 9 Gateway languages, and COVID-19 precautions and quarantines are pushing for greater use. Every region of the world where Wycliffe Associates is working has either an ongoing project with V-MAST or is planning to start projects using the program. A demo is available at www.v-mast.com, and those interested in launching a Bible translation project using V-MAST can request more information by sending an e-mail to vmast@wycliffeassociates.org.

About Wycliffe Associates

One of the world’s leading Bible translation organizations, Wycliffe Associates was organized in 1967 by friends of Bible translators to accelerate the work of Bible translation. Wycliffe Associates empowers national Bible translators to provide God’s Word in their own language, partners with the local church to direct and guard translation work, harnessing their passion and desire for God’s Word, and engages people from all around the world to provide resources, technology, training, and support for Bible translation.

Because millions of people around the world still wait to have the Scriptures in the language of their hearts, Wycliffe Associates is working as quickly as it can to see every verse of God’s Word translated into every tongue to speak to every heart. Wycliffe Associates is directly involved with speeding Bible translation by providing technology, training, resources, logistics, networking, expertise, volunteers, discipleship, church planting, and support. Wycliffe Associates staff and volunteers are currently accelerating Bible translations in 108 countries. For more information, please see www.wycliffeassociates.org.

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