LONDON - The United Bible Society (UBS) published the 2004 Scripture Language Report earlier this week. The report reveals that bible translation is in steady progress and has benefited individuals as well as indigenous communities.
According to the report, the Bible in its complete form is now available in 422 languages - an increase of 8 since last year. In addition, translations of Testaments have now been registered in 1,079 languages, compared with 1,068 at the end of 2003.
Overall, including complete or partial form, the Bible is now available in 2,377 languages, compared with 2,355 a year ago. Out of the 6,500 languages that are spoken around the world, 422 completely translated Bibles available may seem to be quite small. However, USB highly appreciates what has already been achieved so far and celebrates the steady growth.
It is important to look forward to the future with hope because the number of translated Bible in partial form is in fact very high, which indicates that the translation of many more languages are in fact underway.
The 2004 Scripture Language Report is compiled by UBS. It is based on the publications that have been registered and added to one of the two official Bible Society deposit libraries, namely the American Bible Society in New York and the British and Foreign Bible Society in Cambridge, England.
In 2004, all the eight newly translated complete Bibles are destined to bring joy to various communities in the South Pacific. General Secretary of the Bible Society in the South Pacific Solomone Duru said that the release of the 2004 report reminded them how important UBSs dedicated, painstaking work is to members of communities which have not previously had access to God's Word in their own language.
A translation project on Ranonga, a small and remote island in the Solomon Islands has resulted in the launch of the New Testament in Lungga, the local language, in July 2004.
"Many old men and women of Ranonga openly wept tears of joy as they heard Acts 8 being read in their own language for the first time," Duru testified.
Another world-renowned Bible translator Wycliffe International is also running the programme Vision 2025. By the year 2025, together with partners worldwide, it aims to see a Bible translation program begun in all the remaining languages that need one. Wycliffe International's work is to facilitate the translation of God's Word into every language that needs it. Currently, 1500 more translation projects representing over 70 countries, are in progress.