Wycliffe Associates, an international organization involving people in the advancement of Bible translation, has identified 33 language groups in the Middle East that do not have any of the Bible.
Wycliffe Associates hopes to launch Bible translation projects for all 33 language groups using the breakthrough collaborative translation method known as Mobilized Assistance Supporting Translation (MAST).
According to Wycliffe Associates President and CEO Bruce Smith, Christian converts from the majority religion in this region “are so passionate about sharing God’s Word with their people, they are risking everything. Some have already started on their own. It’s slow going. It’s dangerous. Some have been arrested. Some have been beaten, some tortured. Some have been killed. All because their hearts longed to share God’s Word, and they determined to do something about it.”
Wycliffe Associates supports Bible translation efforts of mother-tongue Bible translators by providing them with equipment, technology, and training to assist in the translation process and help ensure the safety of the translators.
In MAST workshops, translators from a language group are divided into teams, and each team is assigned a portion of Scripture to translate together.
This collaborative method brings together teams of national Bible translators already familiar with a subject language and provides them with translation resources to allow them to complete translations with accuracy and unprecedented speed.
“We can’t leave Christians to risk everything on their own. They need support. They need tools, technology, training, and a safe place to work. They need a way to preserve the work they’ve completed,” says Smith. “This is their best chance of finishing the work before being discovered—and having their work destroyed. Every moment we delay, the risk increases. My hope and prayer is that we can help them.”
Wycliffe Associates is currently raising the funds needed to launch the Middle East Bible translation projects at a cost of $19,500 per language group.
Of the 7,097 languages currently spoken in the world, less than 10 percent have a completed Bible in their heart language.
Wycliffe Associates has used the MAST translation method to launch 1,106 Bible translation projects to date. Wycliffe Associates piloted its first MAST workshop in 2014, in Asia, where a team of mother-tongue translators drafted 48 percent of the New Testament in two weeks.