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2014 a record year for Bible translation


Thursday 23 April 2015

Your open-hearted support for Bible Society’s 100 Bibles in 1000 days campaign has helped to realise what is believed to be a record for the number of new Scripture editions published in one year.

The campaign was a major contributor to this output, accounting for 21 of the new Bibles published last year by United Bible Societies, 14 of which were first Bibles.

In total, translations were completed in 51 languages with the potential to reach more than 1.346 billion people – 1.2 billion Chinese speakers and 146 million speakers of other languages.

Since the start of the campaign, which aimed to complete 100 translations of the Bible or Bible portions in 1000 days, from 2013 to the end of 2015, 70 of the targeted 100 full Bible translations have now completed the translation stage, with 30 published and 40 in pre-production or printing. Translation teams are working hard to complete as many as possible of the remaining 30 by the end of 2015.

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No fewer than 30 language groups spoken by nearly 10 million people were reached for the first time in their heart languages in countries as diverse as Nigeria and Myanmar, Panama and Togo.

Of the 51 languages translated, 12 are spoken by one million people: Bulgarian, Chinese, Dutch, Ebira (Nigeria), Emakhuwa-Makhua (Mozambique), Georgian, Hungarian, Khmer (Cambodia), Moore (Burkina Faso), Yao (Malawi), Simalungun (Indonesia) and Urdu (India).

All of the five projects singled out for substantial support from Bible Society Australia made impressive progress.

  • By the end of last year, 97 per cent of the first draft of the revised Baoule Bible in Cote d’Ivoire had been completed. Work had also started on the first Baoule Study Bible.
  • Tuvalu Revised Bible was completed and under review. Tuvalu church (EKT) in the South Pacific has agreed to make this revised Bible ready for printing next year.
  • Kiribati Old Testament was checked by consultants last December and the final text was typeset and printed in January for use in the Pacific Islands.
  • A review of the Gospel of John for the Maumi New Testament in Fiji has been completed and is ready for typesetting. This year, work has started on translating the Gospel of Luke, with typesetting and printing to be finished by the third quarter and distribution in the fourth quarter.
  • The review of the Central Quechua Bible Revision was completed by the end of last year for use in South America.

“We are excited by what has been accomplished in Bible translation in 2014,” says Alexander Schweitzer, head of Global Bible Translation (GBT) at UBS.

“It is testimony to the hard work and dedication of the translation teams and the commitment by Bible Societies. Many of the translations have only been made possible by the generosity of supporters around the world – for which we are truly grateful.”

UBS figures show that 542 languages spoken by almost 80 per cent of the world’s population now have a complete Bible. However, this still leaves more than 6359 languages spoken by 1.3 billion people with either no Scripture at all or just a few books of the Bible.

Thankfully, digital technology is helping to accelerate the speed of translation and broaden access to Scripture. In this context, GBT is promoting its revised tools and online resources for Bible Societies around the world in support of their individual projects.

This is the last year of the current 100 Bibles in 1000 Days campaign, so please pray for all the translation teams working on completing the Bibles in the 30 remaining languages. Please pray too that all of the Bibles in pre-production can be published by the end of 2015.

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