By Russ Jones
An international ministry has announced a new aggressive goal to launch translation efforts in the remaining regions around the world that yet to have the Bible in those languages. Wycliffe Bible Translators USA, the world's largest Bible-translation organization, hopes to begin the remaining projects by 2025.
When translations of God's Word began nearly 70 years ago, almost 500 languages in the Western hemisphere had no writing, grammar, or dictionary, let alone a Bible translation. Today, more than 450 of those language development and scripture-translation projects are complete or under way, leaving fewer than 50 scripture translations to launch.
Paul Edwards, executive director of Wycliffe's Last Languages Campaign, says more than 1,000 languages have been translated in the past decade.
"It's the greatest period of Bible translation that the world has ever seen," he states. "[In] 1999 we estimated it was going to take us 150 years - now we think within 15 years we will have started the final remaining Bible translations."
According to Edwards, there are about 6,900 recognized languages around the world - but about 25 percent of those are oral in nature with no writing. He explains that often a Wycliffe Bible translator has to create a written language from scratch.
"There are languages which include 'clicks' or a 'clack' of the tongue; there are languages which have sounds which...don't render to the 26 letters of our alphabet," says the Wycliffe spokesman. "So we'll create a whole chronology as well as then creating a written font and scripts so that a person can learn to read the language that we've documented and put into a linguistically viable form."
More than 60 representatives from 15 Central and South American countries will gather in Orlando, Florida, on March 31 for the first time ever to share their work from their respective communities.
Preaching the Gospel in Every Language - BPB (Jack Kelley)
The Last Languages Campaign - Wycliffe Bible Translators
College students move Bible translation forward - Mission Network News
Wycliffe Seeks $1.5 Million in Indonesia Bible Translation Efforts - Charisma News Online
Zondervan to Discontinue the Original NIV Bible - BPB (Eric Barger)