Feb 8, 2014

An Unusable Bible

"If Deaf people can read, why do they need a Bible translation?" Good question. For Deaf people, sign language is their 'mother tongue', the language that speaks to their heart. And sign languages have a unique vocabulary and structure that doesn't resemble the spoken language where they live. Translators explain that since most Deaf people have never heard words and their associated sounds, learning to read is like memorizing a phone number for each word.

With an estimated 400 unique sign languages worldwide, Wycliffe and several other organizations are translating the Bible into sign languages where the end result would be a video Bible (see below).

As a hearing person I was surprised at my own reaction to the above video. Not only is it uncomfortable as my ears strain for sound, but since I know nothing of sign language I feel totally disconnected from it, rendering this Bible unusable to me. Simply put, it's in a language that does not speak to my heart.

And this is why we press on in Bible translation, because there are hundreds of millions of people who still have no scripture in the language they understand best. 

You may remember the story we did about Diane Lovell and her work with the South African Sign Language project. See a larger version of the video here on Wycliffe.net.

No comments:

Post a Comment