Wycliffe Bible Translators: The Bible will be translated in every one of the world’s 6,909 spoken languages by 2025
This is truly remarkeable and if achieved must constitute a GIGANTIC milestone in the life of Christianity.
A Christian endeavor of almost 2,000 years could be substantially completed by 2025.
Protestant translators expect to have the Bible — or at least some of it — written in every one of the world’s 6,909 spoken languages.
“We’re in the greatest period of acceleration in 20 centuries of Bible translation,” said Morrison resident Paul Edwards, who heads up Wycliffe Bible Translators’ $1 billion Last Languages Campaign.
Portable computers and satellites get the credit for speeding things up by about 125 years.
Previously, a Wycliffe missionary family or team would spend decades learning and transcribing one language in a remote corner of the Earth.
Wycliffe’s missionaries had the credo, “one team, one language, one lifetime,” Edwards said.
At that pace, the target date had been 2150, Edwards said.
Help from technology
Contemporary missionaries, armed with technology and making greater use of apprentice native translators, might now be able to oversee transcriptions of several languages in their lifetimes, Edwards said.
“Wycliffe missionaries don’t evangelize, teach theology, hold Bible study or start churches. They give (preliterate people) a written language,” Edwards said. “They teach them to read and write in their mother tongue.”
The missionaries develop alphabets. They create reading primers. They translate the Bible.
About 2,200 languages remain without a Bible. About 350 million people, mostly in India, China, sub-Saharan Africa and Papua New Guinea, speak only these languages.
Working on this “to-do” list are about 6,600 career and short-term missionaries with training in the Bible and linguistics.
They are following the New Testament directive of Jesus in the Book of Matthew: “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded of you.”
The missionaries have to come up with their own means of support, often a church sponsorship, in the field.
Katie Zartman, a 27-year-old Loveland native and Colorado State University graduate, is a senior graphic designer with Wycliffe at its Orlando, Fla.-headquarters.
She recently returned from a two-week mission to Senegal in French-speaking West Africa, where she taught a workshop on layout and design to Saafis, a small Senegalese minority for which Wycliffe is not only translating the Bible but also helping to create a small body of native literature.
“Half weren’t confident in their basic computer skills when they began, but they were book publishers by the end of two weeks,” Zartman said.