“Despite the persecution and risks they face, Christians are reaching out to us, asking for the tools, technology, and training they need to launch Bible translation projects,” said Bruce Smith, President and CEO of Wycliffe Associates.
Bible translators meet in secret with Wycliffe Associates team members to map out translation strategies because they can’t risk being seen with foreigners.
“I am humbled and overwhelmed to see the tenacity of Christians in the most extreme anti-Christian environments on earth,” said Smith. “In spite of the hostility of religious and governmental authorities, in spite of the risk of violence, of arrest, of torture, even death, Christians ardently press on.”
Wycliffe Associates provides training in the MAST (Mobilized Assistance Supporting Translation) methodology, a collaborative translation method for translating the Bible quickly and accurately. The organization also equips mother-tongue translators with technology that complements MAST, which includes computer tablets, Print On Demand equipment, and Bible translation recording kits.
The persecution of Christians is so intense in some places that mother-tongue Bible translators face incredible danger. Many of the translators must cross the border to work safely.
“In some countries, we’ve helped move national Bible translators out of their own countries because their lives are literally at risk if they attempt to translate the Scriptures in their homeland,” Smith said.
Recently, a translator in West Africa was murdered and his wife was mutilated. And one pastor, a hunted man, has been forced to flee his country and lives under a virtual death sentence. Even so, he remains firmly committed to the work of Bible translation for his language group.
“Some translators are at such risk that they will never be able to go home again,” said Smith. “The translated Scriptures will have to be smuggled back across the border.”
There are currently 1,200 MAST projects in progress around the world.