Record number of Bibles translated in new language
Last year, 100 million people had the chance to read the Bible (or a part of it) for the first time in their own language . In 2022, no less than 57 translations of the Bible (or parts of it) were finished.
This is a record number of new translations in one year, according to the United Bible Societies. The cooperative body of 150 Bible Societies reported this in a press release on Monday.
The complete Bible is now available in fourteen more languages, among which an Ethiopian language and a Nigerian language, the United Bible Society announced. Furthermore, the New Testament was translated into five more languages. The Bible became partly available for the first time in 38 other languages, for example, in a specific Egyptian dialect.
In addition, the UBS finished several other translation projects. The organisation continues to replace older translations, for example. It did so for 623 million people with 25 different languages.
In total, the Bible is available in 733 languages. That means that 5.9 billion people can read the Word of God in their mother tongue. The New Testament is translated into 1,622 languages; other parts of the Bible in 1,255 languages. There are still about 3,776 languages on the waiting list.
Alexander M. Schweitzer works for UBS and is responsible for the strategic plan for Bible translations for the coming years. This strategic plan, the so-called Bible Translation Roadmap (BTR), was established in 2018 and applies for 20 years, Schweitzer says in an interview.
The goal of the BTR is to finish 1,200 translations of the Bible, which can be read by about 600 million people. Schweitzer explains that this roadmap is an addition to the work of the United Bible Societies, which consists of more than translating alone, for example, engaging people with the Bible and getting them to really read the Word of God. "Nonetheless, Bible translation must remain the key task of the UBS and requires special effort, focus and sustainable resourcing. Here I see the specific contribution of BTR", he says.
Schweitzer expects that at the end of this year, 200 Bible translations will be finished, and 300 will still be in the translation process.
Other results from the BTR include the establishment of local infrastructures in Asia, Africa and Latin America, Schweitzer points out. These networks support the BTR as they have a better view of which projects should get priority, how to exchange human resources and which partnerships are essential for the work to continue. "The BTR forces us to look very intentionally at the relationship between funders and implementors and the question of diversified income streams", Schweitzer says.
In the future, Schweitzer will continue his work with motivation, he states. "In terms of reaching hearts, God's Word should be made available in a shape and form which bridges the gap between the original setting of the Biblical texts and today's cultures, societies and languages. Being able to contribute to this task keeps me motivated!"
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