International Bible translators, Wycliffe Associates has developed new technological tools that help translate languages that are only spoken with no written form.
Wycliffe's Bible Translation Recording Kits (BTRK) along with a method called Mobile Assistance Supporting Translation (MAST) are providing indigenous translators with a new way to translate the Bible, and just as quickly for oral languages as for written ones.
Bruce Smith, president and CEO of the Orlando-based ministry, explained the need for oral translations.
'There are entire massive populations of people who have totally, exclusively spoken languages...Jesus died for them, just like He died for you and me. We can't leave them behind. We've got to reach them—and we will,' he said.
Wycliffe estimates 2,000 languages are spoken without any written form.
Translators are now utilizing the MAST method to reach those cultures where storytelling and listening is the only way of communicating and receiving information.
The MAST method enlists groups of indigenous-speaking translators working together in parallel to translate the Bible. The method helps them complete the task quickly and with a high level of accuracy.
They are translating the Bible for cultures where there is no texting, no Facebook, Twitter, the Internet, newspapers, or books.
'When they hear the Scriptures, they are hearing them in the language of their heart—the language they think in, the language they pray in, the language they dream in,' Smith explained.
Wycliffe Associates has conducted more than 200 MAST workshops where 66 new language translations were started. And 169 existing translations were accelerated because of the MAST method.
Traditional translation methods can take as long as 25 to 30-years for an entire New Testament. The first MAST method test occurred two years ago when mother tongue translators in Asia completed 48 percent of the New Testament in just two weeks.
Each Bible Translation Recording Kit (BTRK) contains a computer tablet loaded with special software and recording equipment.
Within the next year, Wycliffe wants to provide nearly 1,000 kits to translators working in areas where the people have no written language. Each kit costs $500.
'Bible Translation Recording Kits also will help us reach countless millions of people who have a written language, but who can't read,' Smith said. 'In other words, this kit is a breakthrough of colossal proportions.'
In 2015, more than 6,000 Wycliffe Associates staff and volunteers served to facilitate and translate the Bible in 75 countries."
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"And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come." (Matthew 24:14 NIV)