How Do Sign Language Bible Translators Choose the Next Language to Work On?

Have you ever wondered how Bible translation ministries pick the next language they’re going to work on? There’s more to it than just marking off a checklist.

DOOR International has worked on sign language Bible translations for the Deaf for 13 years. Rob Myers, President and CEO of DOOR, says before they begin translating Scripture in another sign language, they first survey the local Deaf communities and find out what kind of reach that sign language has.

“We want to make sure that when we make a decision to help a community do a translation, that it’s going to be as effective as possible and it’s going to reach the largest number of people that it can.”

Myers says, “We have to be strategic in terms of: Where should that translation start? And how is it going to be most effective in the community?”

When DOOR surveys a Deaf community requesting a Bible translation, they don’t just focus on that one area; they also survey the surrounding regions and learn about the neighboring Deaf communities.

Some sign languages are small and cover just one region. Other sign languages are larger, encompassing several regions and communities. Myers says in those cases, it’s best to start Bible translation work with the larger sign language.

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SOURCE: Mission Network News, Lyndsey Koh