Wycliffe Associates Looks to Collaborative Translation Methodology to Finish Decades-Old Bible Translation Projects
May 18, 2020 | 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, has recently identified 10 language groups that don’t yet have complete Bibles, although translation projects began decades ago.
“Some were thrilled when missionaries translated even a single book of the Bible,” said Bruce Smith, President and CEO of Wycliffe Associates. “But then the work stalled. The missionaries were called away or had to leave. No one ever returned.”
Now Wycliffe Associates wants to help complete Bible translation for these 10 language groups through the introduction of the MAST (Mobilized Assistance Supporting Translation) methodology.
MAST is a collaborative, rapid-translation method that Wycliffe Associates first piloted in 2014 with remarkable results. Thirteen mother-tongue translators, working 12-hour days in teams of three or four, were able to complete the drafting and accuracy checking process for Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and 1 and 2 Timothy, representing about 48 percent of the New Testament.
Since then, Wycliffe Associates has launched 1,600 Bible translations through MAST workshops, which enables mother-tongue translators to bring the Scriptures to minority language groups without even a single Bible verse in their languages.
Now Wycliffe Associates hopes that MAST will be the catalyst for local translators to complete Bible translation projects. They hope to complete translations that foreign missionaries painstakingly began long ago when they moved to remote locations, earned the trust of the people, learned the language, and then began translating Scripture line by line.
“For many language groups, even those where translation work began decades ago, the Bible is incomplete,” said Smith. “Some have lived with only the book of Luke, John, or only a few passages of Scripture all these years. The people in these faraway lands are grateful for what they’ve been given. They’ve never known there’s another way, a way they can translate God’s Word for themselves. Until now.”
In addition to facilitating MAST workshops for mother-tongue Bible translators, Wycliffe Associates also provides the translators with valuable tools and technology to aid in their work, which includes computer tablets loaded with translation software.
“Just having part of the Bible isn’t enough,” said Smith. “The MAST strategy will empower them to finally give the whole Bible to their people in the language of their heart. We have an opportunity today to build on what others began, to stand on the shoulders of the missionaries who made extreme sacrifices.”
To date, 318 New Testaments have been completed using the MAST methodology.
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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