For The Press

Press Release

08/01/2016: Papua New Guinea Churches Ask Wycliffe Associates for Bible Translation Tools, Training in Revolutionary New Method

(Orlando, Florida, USA)—Wycliffe Associates, an international organization involving people in the advancement of Bible translation, has been asked by churches in Papua New Guinea for training and tools to employ the groundbreaking Mobilized Assistance Supporting Translation (MAST) method. More than 500 languages in Papua New Guinea have no portions of the Bible whatsoever in their own language.

MAST is a translation method in which groups of mother-tongue translators work together in parallel to translate books of the Bible while maintaining the highest levels of accuracy and quality.

Wycliffe Associates first tested the MAST method in 2014, where mother-tongue translators in Asia drafted 48 percent of the New Testament in their language in just two weeks. The group of 13 translators completed the drafting and checking process for Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and 1 and 2 Timothy with the same quality compared to traditional translation methods, which can take 25 to 30 years for a complete New Testament.

“The people of Papua New Guinea aren’t asking us to send translators. They are asking us to enable them to translate—by giving them the tools to employ the MAST strategy,” says Bruce Smith, President and CEO of Wycliffe Associates. “People who had given up the idea of ever seeing a Bible in their own language in their lifetime now suddenly have a spark of hope for something miraculous: to hold a Bible in their hands that speaks to them in the language of their heart.”

Approximately 12 percent of the world’s total languages, roughly 800, are spoken in Papua New Guinea. Many of these languages have fewer than 1,000 speakers.

“In this extremely difficult part of the world, where animistic beliefs persist and the spiritual need of the people is great,” says Smith. “Bible translation has been a huge challenge for decades, if not centuries.”

Wycliffe Associates hopes to launch MAST workshops for 20 new languages in Papua New Guinea at a cost of $20,000 each, where the organization provides training, technology, infrastructure, and everything needed to set up a MAST workshop.

“With MAST, there is no more waiting for Westerners to move in and spend years learning the language,” Smith says. “MAST enables the local church to translate God’s Word themselves.”

In 2015, Wycliffe Associates conducted 235 MAST workshops, where 66 new Bible translations were started and 169 existing Bible translations were accelerated.

Wycliffe Associates hopes to facilitate the launch of 400 new Bible translations in 2017 using the MAST method.

About Wycliffe Associates

Organized in 1967 by friends of Bible translators, 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 read the Scriptures in the language of their heart, 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. Last year, 6,279 Wycliffe Associates staff and volunteers worked to speed Bible translations in 75 countries.
                                                                     # # #