“Millions of Dayak people have never seen a Bible in their own language,” said Bruce Smith, President and CEO of Wycliffe Associates. “But now, Christians from these language groups have contacted us, requesting the tools to translate Scripture for their own people.”
Decades ago, missionaries shared the gospel with the Dayak, predominantly in the Indonesian language. As the gospel spread from the cities to smaller towns and villages, it could only be shared by word of mouth. Only a handful of the local languages had Bible translations. In some of the most remote Dayak villages, only a few of the residents speak Indonesian.
“The Christians in the villages have heard stories from other parts of the country about the incredible transformation that happens where God’s Word becomes available in the heart language of the people,” said Smith. “Tribes at war for generations, regions bound by demonic influence, have experienced a new wave of peace.”
Through an innovative translation method known as MAST, or Mobilized Assistance Supporting Translation, Wycliffe Associates provides training to mother-tongue translators in a workshop setting. The workshops are staffed by local churches, and the translators and church leadership participate in a review process throughout the translation project to help ensure the translation is accurate.
Twenty-first century neurological and education theories guided the development of the MAST strategy, which consists of four drafting steps and four accuracy checking steps.
“One hundred language groups are already recruiting mother-tongue Bible translators to start translating,” said Smith, “yet they can’t start without the technology and tools: computer tablets, Bible translation resources, and training.”
In addition to training at the MAST workshops, Wycliffe Associates equips translators with computer tablets loaded with translation software and provides technology such as Print On Demand equipment, open-source translation technology, and resources to help empower local Bible translators.
More than 1,300 Bible translations have been launched since the development of MAST.