Bible translation progressing ahead of expectations

Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Charlie Butts (

Wycliffe is reporting dramatic progress in Bible translations that's only partly because of new technology.

Bible with crossSpokesman Russ Herfman tells OneNewsNow that Wycliffe Associates has taken stock of how many Bible translations have yet to be started and the figures are encouraging.

"For the first year now, that number has dropped under 2,000. There are now 1,967 that may need a Bible translation to begin," he says. "The other thing we're quite excited about is that there are Bible translation projects in 2,075 languages. This is the first time that there are more projects already started than are yet remaining to start."

Translation is a lengthy process, but he explains it has become considerably shorter in recent years.

"Some [translation efforts] have taken 30, 40 years. Nowadays it takes usually much less time than that -- maybe 10 to 15 years; and it depends on the education level of the national translators and all," Herfman explains. "We're seeing some translations done in well under 10 years now."

This is accomplished by using modern technology and new training in empowering national translators. One is a team approach using people who speak the same language but different dialects so they can work on multiple translations at the same time.

In 1999, Wycliffe believed Bible translations in needed languages would be started by 2025 and done by 2150. Now the completion date is estimated at 2037, trimming off 113 years.

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