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Accelerating Accuracy: The Bible Translation Challenge

A coalition of Bible agencies warns against overemphasizing speed.
Accelerating Accuracy: The Bible Translation Challenge
Image: Garsya / Shutterstock

Every Tribe Every Nation, an alliance of philanthropic and Bible agencies, represents groups that have developed more than 85 percent of the Bible translations in the world. It includes the American Bible Society, Biblica, Seed Company, SIL, Wycliffe USA, and the United Bible Societies. After Christianity Todaypublished its article on Mobilized Assistance Supporting Translation (MAST) in its June issue, the alliance sent this statement. See also today’s CT report on the ongoing debate over MAST.

Speed and accuracy. In many areas of life, we are challenged to balance speed and accuracy. An equestrian trying to finish a course in the quickest time with the fewest penalties. The typist who strives for the fastest speed with the fewest errors. Medical researchers searching for the quickest path to a cure with the fewest side effects.

And when it comes to Bible translation, speed and meaningful accuracy are also fundamental principles that undergird the work. We have an incredible sense of urgency to ensure that all people can access the gospel message, but we take very seriously our spiritual responsibility to ensure that each new translation accurately relays the Scripture’s full meaning and spirit of the gospel.

The balancing act of delivering the Bible in a new language as quickly as possible while ensuring this accuracy of God’s Word has always been the challenge for Bible translators. People become Bible translators because they have experienced the power of God’s Word in their own lives and feel called to get the gospel message into the hands and hearts of others. But especially as this work of Bible translation moves closer and closer to local communities, they also recognize that the only ...

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