In 2015 Bible Societies assisted in the completion of translations in 50 languages spoken by nearly 160 million people. 2015 was ‘a first’ for no fewer than 28 languages, spoken by nearly 33 million people. 11 communities now have their very first full Bible, 6 have a New Testament and 11 communities have their first, or additional, portions of Scripture.
Languages are constantly developing so Bible Societies are also committed to revising existing translations and providing new translations, when requested, to help as many people as possible engage with the message of the Bible today. In 2015 this resulted in a further 20 new translations and revisions plus 2 study editions with the potential to reach over 127 million people.
Status of Bible translation at the end of 2015
The full Bible is now available in 563 languages spoken by nearly 5.1 billion people and a further 1,334 languages spoken by 658 million people have a New Testament. This leaves 281 million people with only some portions of the Bible and a further 497 million people with no Scripture translated in their language at all.
Translation into sign languages to serve Deaf communities worldwide is also seeing significant progress. Over 300 million people are estimated to be deaf and 70 million globally have a Sign Language as their first or ‘heart’ language. There are over 400 unique Sign Languages and yet the New Testament is only available in American Sign Language and this is the largest portion of Sign Language Scripture currently available.
- Ceylon Bible Society published Sign Language selections from Acts
- Hungary and Lithuania produced the first ever drafts of Mark’s gospel
- Brazil produced 15 new Bible stories in Sign Language
- The Mexico team completed Luke and Acts
- The ViBi team in Japan completed Exodus, Titus and Ephesians.
Scriptures in Braille
285 million people worldwide are estimated to be visually impaired, of whom 40 million are blind. Significant progress continues to be made in serving these people by providing scriptures in Braille.
- In Sri Lanka Sinhala Braille Bible – 44th language
- In Mexico the first Braille portion in the Purepecha
- Additional portions in Spanish and Armenian
- New version of Dutch Braille Bible
Greater Electronic Scripture Access
The Digital Bible Library® (DBL) is central to UBS strategy to make the Bible as widely and easily accessible as possible. By the end of 2015, the DBL contained no fewer than 1,201 Bibles, Testaments and portions in 957 languages. These languages are spoken by over 4.6 billion people. The DBL is owned and maintained by United Bible Societies in partnership with other Bible agencies and with the support of the Every Tribe Every Nation alliance. It makes the Bible accessible by providing Scripture texts to the public through partners such as BibleSearch and YouVersion.
(Source: Christian Newswire)