Groundbreaking Scripture Translation Program

(Orlando, Florida, USA)—Wycliffe Associates announces that it has expanded the MAST (Mobilized Assistance Supporting Translation) program to over 100 languages. MAST rapidly accelerates the process of Bible translation using new training and translation strategies, making it possible for mother tongue translators to draft significant portions of the Scriptures over a period of weeks rather than years.

The first MAST program was launched in late 2014 when a group of Christians in Asia joined efforts and drafted 48 percent of the New Testament in two weeks. Because Christians suffer ongoing persecution by members of the majority religion in their nation, the group decided they could no longer wait for the Scriptures to be translated into their language using traditional methods. They mobilized close to 10 percent of the known Christians in their language group to help translate the New Testament.

“MAST emerged because people without Scripture, people with no hope of receiving Scripture from others, decided that in good conscience before God they could no longer wait. Slow Bible translation strategies were not meeting their needs,” says Bruce Smith, President and CEO of Wycliffe Associates. “Their people were dying without hope. So, they took action.”

Working 12-hour days, each translator completed approximately 34 verses each day, the group drafted during the mornings and used a five-step process to check the accuracy of the verses in the afternoons and evenings. By the end of two weeks, they had completed the drafting and checking process for Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and 1 and 2 Timothy, representing approximately 48 percent of the New Testament. It also was the first time their language had been written down. In addition to printing copies of the New Testament, the group has made plans for an audio recording.

Since the launch of MAST, over 100 language groups have undertaken Bible translation projects using this strategic method. “MAST is beginning to spread virally within the global church,” says Smith. So much so, that Christianity Today published an article about MAST in the June 2015 issue of their magazine.

Despite the rapidly increased speed of Scripture translation using MAST, accuracy remains the highest priority.

“The MAST strategy includes multiple accuracy checks,” says Smith. “During MAST, accuracy checks begin at earlier stages, occur more frequently, and include more involvement of the local church than in many other Bible translation methods.”

Each translation project typically involves multiple churches and dozens of church leaders. In addition, the accuracy-checking process has been further refined since the first MAST translation project, drawing from consultations with national churches and church leaders, as well as experienced Bible translation partners.

“Accuracy is at the heart of every Bible translation we support at Wycliffe Associates,” says Smith. “We should also note that Bible translation accuracy is the top priority for all of the people that are still without Scripture in their own language. Sloppy translation serves no one, and no one is more committed to accurate Bible translation than those who have been called by God to translate the Bible for their own people.”

About Wycliffe Associates
Organized in 1967 by friends of Bible translators, Wycliffe Associates empowers national Bible translators to provide God’s Word in their own language, partners with the local church to direct and guard translation work, harnessing their passion and desire for God’s Word, and engages people from all around the world to provide resources, technology, training, and support for Bible translation.

Because millions of people around the world still wait to read the Scriptures in the language of their heart, Wycliffe Associates is working as quickly as it can to see every verse of God’s Word translated into every tongue to speak to every heart. Last year, 2,544 Wycliffe Associates team members worked to speed Bible translations in 75 countries.

Blessings,

Helmut Giesbrecht
Serving as Project Funding Coordinator in Malaysia
with SIL International

Helmut Giesbrecht is part of the CrossRoads supported missionary family.

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