Bible Society endeavours to make the Bible available and accessible specifically to indigenous communities across Australia.
In Bible Publication, the Bible Society takes the translated text of indigenous Scriptures on to the next stage and works with the translation team on the design and format of the printed book. It organises the typesetting (a very specialised task that uses software specially developed by Bible Society & SIL) and then send it off for printing. It works with a number of partners to ensure timely delivery to Scripture launch celebrations. Importantly it subsidises the production costs so that Indigenous readers need not pay any more than what you and I would for a Bible in our own language.
“The Bible is a special book – one I think every person needs to have in their mother tongue, the language that they know best. There are many Aboriginal and Islander people in Australia who don’t understand the gospel because they don’t have it in their own language – or if they do, they can’t get access to it. Yet even people who know several languages will turn to their mother tongue for their own devotions. When they want to get the most out of the Bible, it is their own language they turn to.”
– Paul Eckert, formerly SIL Translator for the Pitjantjatjara Bible and currently Production Coordinator for Bible Society’s Remote & Indigenous Ministry Support portfolio. Paul is also currently translation advisor to the Pitjantjatjara Old Testament Project.
There are at least 55 indigenous languages with some part of the Bible today
- Only one language (Kriol) has the complete Bible;
- Twelve have complete New Testaments – often also with a portion of the Old Testament (known as Shorter Bibles);
- Twelve languages have partial Bibles published (known as Mini-Bibles) which contain some of the New Testament and maybe some selected books from the Old Testament;
- Five languages have at least one complete book of the New Testament, eg a Gospel;
- Nine languages have just portions or small selections of Scripture; and
- Sixteen languages have some parts of Scripture recorded as audio, although many are recordings of earlier translations.
In the next few years Bible Society expects to publish Shorter Bibles in four of these languages and continue to reprint others as they sell out. In addition it will publish the Gospel of Mark in a number of languages where Indigenous translators are currently working.
You can be a part of our Indigenous Bible Publication work by donating today. Donations to this project are tax deductible.