Wycliffe’s MAST collaborative translation method has dramatically reduced the time needed for translation.
Wycliffe Associates, an international organization involving people in the advancement of Bible translation, has received requests to launch Bible translation projects from 619 language groups worldwide, including groups in Democratic Republic of the Congo, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Nigeria.
“When they hear that the entire New Testament can now be translated in just months, they’re astonished, and they plead for a chance,” said Bruce Smith, president and CEO of Wycliffe Associates.
In 2014 Wycliffe Associates piloted a new, collaborative Bible translation method known as Mobilized Assistance Supporting Translation, or MAST, which significantly reduces translation time. Traditionally, translations of the New Testament into another language have taken as long as 25 to 30 years.
Since the first MAST workshop in South Asia, more than 1,250 Bible translation projects have started using MAST.
“Word keeps spreading from one language group to another about the tools, technology and training,” said Smith.
Along with the training that mother-tongue translators receive in a MAST workshop, Wycliffe Associates also provides them with computer tablets loaded with translation software. In addition to helping translators work efficiently and safeguard their work, the tablets also help ensure the safety of translators who need to work discreetly in places where Christians face intense persecution, even the threat of death. Wycliffe Associates has distributed 5,485 tablets in 67 countries so far.
Compact, high-speed printing systems are also part of the portable and discreet tools that Wycliffe Associates provides to language groups involved in Bible translation, which allows the translators to immediately distribute copies of the Scripture portions they’ve completed. To date, the organization has installed 90 of these print-on-demand (PODs) units in 31 countries.
“For generations, Bible translation was a difficult and slow process, shackled by what ‘couldn’t’ be done, where we ‘couldn’t’ go,” said Smith. “Today, by God’s grace, we’re leaving ‘can’t’ behind. In places we could never work before due to violence and persecution, God has opened doors.”
Wycliffe Associates’ goal is a Bible in every language by 2025.