The United Bible Societies (UBS) announced that 57 translations of the Bible or parts of it were finished in 2022, hitting a new historic high. For this batch, there are complete translations of the Bible in 14 languages, including languages spoken in Nigeria and Ethiopia; and five languages of the New Testament. Parts of the Bible also became available in 38 other languages, which included a specific Egyptian dialect, reports CNE.news.
With the latest translations in 2022, the whole Bible is now available in 733 languages. The New Testament is already translated into 1,622 languages; while other parts of the Bible in 1,255 languages. According to UBS, 7.2 billion people have some Scripture in their native tongue and just 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 .
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. —Alexander Schweitzer, member of the Strategic Leadership Team of United Bible Societies (UBS)
Translating the Bible is an ongoing process. While the organization is finishing several translation projects, it continues to replace older translations to keep it updated. UBS revised older translations for 623 million people with 25 different languages.
“Bible translation must remain the key task of the UBS and requires special effort, focus and sustainable resourcing,” said Alexander Schweitzer, member of the Strategic Leadership Team of UBS. He disclosed that the organization established the Bible Translation Roadmap (BTR) in 2018 as a blueprint for its goal of finishing 1,200 translations by 2038.
Part of the BTR is the establishment of local infrastructures in Asia, Africa and Latin America to help the cooperative body in prioritizing projects. “The BTR forces us to look very intentionally at the relationship between funders and implementors and the question of diversified income streams,” Schweitzer explained.
It is important to have the Bible, even parts of it, translated to a Christian’s native language. During the annual meeting of the Forum of Bible Agencies International (FOBAI), DOOR International’s Rob Myers pointed out that, “If they don’t speak more than one language, they’re effectively completely cut off from Scripture.” He stressed that, “It’s critical that [translation is] not just a Western effort – going in and translating for communities – but that it’s built from the ground up through indigenous work.”
The UBS may have reached a record-breaking achievement in translations last year, but there is still much to be done. In UBS’ waiting list, there are about 3,776 languages which do not have a translation of the Scriptures yet. Schweitzer plans to finish 200 translations of the Bible by the end of this year, and 300 will still be under translation.
In conclusion, Schweitzer said, “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. Nothing speaks more to the heart than the heart language. Being able to contribute to this task keeps me motivated!”