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“Not just for people who have an alphabet . . .” Wycliffe Associates Helps Spoken-Only Language Groups Gain Access to the Scriptures

August 9, 2021 | Orlando, Florida

(Orlando, Florida, USA)—Wycliffe Associates, an international organization that empowers mother-tongue Bible translators and partners with local churches in the advancement of Bible translation, is helping spoken-only language groups gain access to the Scriptures by strategically equipping and training national Bible translators.

“There are thousands of oral cultures,” says Tim Neu, Chief Operating Officer. “In an oral culture, sounds—words—are the currency of life. Everything of value is heard.”

However, many Christians in these oral cultures live in places of intense persecution, where hostile authorities harass them for their faith. In one country, authorities captured six Christians who were returning home from a Bible translation workshop and seized their equipment. They interrogated the Christians for three days and beat them repeatedly, not allowing them to eat or sleep.

“These are people who greatly need the strength and comfort that can only be found in God’s Word,” says Neu. “They need to know that God loves them, too . . . that God’s grace is for them, too—not just for people who have an alphabet.

By providing Bible Translation Recording Kits (BTRKs), Wycliffe Associates helps mother-tongue Bible translators use a translation method known as MAST (Mobilized Assistance Supporting Translation) to translate and record the Scriptures for their language group.

Each $2,000 BTRK includes a laptop computer, a microphone, and specialized Bible translation recording software that is easy for translators to learn.

Nearly 2,000 languages in the world have no alphabet. Wycliffe Associates has identified 50 language groups among these storytelling cultures that are ready to begin using BTRKs.

“They need God’s Word just like every culture does, and we can share it with them. We can make it possible for them to know God’s Word in their heart language, even though they don’t have an alphabet.”

Since launching the BTRK program, Wycliffe Associates has distributed 1,299 kits. Currently there are Bible translations in progress for 743 languages 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 68 countries. For more information, please see

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