In Violence-Plagued Democratic Republic of the Congo, Christians are Asking for Training to Translate the Bible Themselves
April 1, 2019 | Orlando, Florida, USA
In a nation where many have never seen a Bible in their own language, Christians from 16 language groups in the Democratic Republic of the Congo are requesting Scripture translation workshops from Wycliffe Associates.
“Language groups have heard about our Bible translation strategy,” said Bruce Smith, President and CEO of Wycliffe Associates. “They’ve heard how other groups have translated the Scriptures. And they are crying out for the same chance.”
Wycliffe Associates, an international organization involving people in the acceleration of Bible translation, has been equipping mother-tongue translators with tools and training for translating the Bible into their own languages. The translators are trained in the translation method known as MAST (Mobilized Assistance Supporting Translation), which Wycliffe Associates piloted in 2014.
Since then, more than 1,300 translation language projects have been launched through MAST workshops.
During a MAST workshop, teams of mother-tongue translators work in parallel on assigned portions of the Bible. The translators draft verses during the morning and then check their work in the afternoons and evenings using an eight-step process.
While French is the official language of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, there are 212 living languages spoken in the Central African nation. Generations of tribal violence has led to political instability and has dramatically slowed the progress of Bible translation by foreigners.
“With the local Congolese churches taking ownership of translation projects, we will finally be able to reach parts of this country that are impossible for outsiders to reach,” said Smith. “Local churches leading workshops is the safest, most sustainable strategy for taking God’s Word to the DRC. National Bible translators can deal with the challenges of this region far more adeptly than foreigners.”
In addition to MAST training, Wycliffe Associates provides technology that includes computer tablets loaded with translation apps and portable Print On Demand equipment. This equipment allows translators to work discreetly, safely preserve the translation, and print Bibles or portions of Scripture in custom quantities.
Launching a new language with a MAST workshop costs $19,500. Wycliffe Associates is raising funds to meet the 16 new requests from language groups in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Currently there are 1,058 MAST Bible translations in progress worldwide.
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 92 countries. For more information, please see www.wycliffeassociates.org.