Bible translation method gains currency

“The work produced through MAST methodology is excellent,” said Dr. John Luton, who has checked the work of numerous translation projects around the world. “It compares very favorably with text produced through other methods.”

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Church leaders from more than 600 language groups around the world have asked Wycliffe Associates for the technology and training to start translating the Bible using a translation method known as MAST (Mobilized Assistance Supporting Translation).

“They have the commitment to proclaim Christ, even in the most dangerous areas,” said Bruce Smith, President and CEO of Wycliffe Associates. “But they don’t have the tools, the technology, or training.”

In 2014, Wycliffe Associates piloted its first MAST workshop in a nation where Christians face ongoing persecution. Thirteen mother-tongue translators, divided into teams of three or four, worked to complete an average of 34 verses per day. Using an eight-step process, they drafted passages from Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John during the mornings and checked the quality of the verses in the afternoons and evenings.

“The work produced through MAST methodology is excellent,” said Dr. John Luton, who has checked the work of numerous translation projects around the world. “It compares very favorably with text produced through other methods.”

Since then, Wycliffe Associates has launched 1,275 Bible translation projects using MAST. Bible translation projects that once took years to finish can now be completed in a matter of months with the MAST methodology.

“The church is growing, even in countries where Christianity is cruelly oppressed,” Smith said. “But where the people have no Bibles in their own heart language, they struggle.”

The cost of a MAST workshop for launching a Bible translation in a new language is $19,500. Wycliffe Associates is working to raise funds to start new translations for every new language group that has requested one.

The organization provides mother-tongue translators with computer tablets, software, and the training to begin using MAST to translate the Scriptures for their own language groups.

More than 800 MAST Bible translations are currently underway.

“We are the first generation with the potential to see Bibles in every language on earth,” said Smith.

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