Summary Report: Translation Task Force

Dear AD2-Announce Reader:

As the AD2000 & Beyond Movement moves towards its final closure date of early 2001, all of the movement's Tracks / Resource Networks and Task Forces have been requested to provide an overview summary of their specific realm of experience over the 5 - 10 years of their operational existence. These reports have been prepared for compilation of a "lasting record" of this movement and for all to see, as they are interested!

Please see the attached revised report on the Partnership Development Task Force prepared by the Task Force Chair and International Director of Interdev, Phill Butler. This Task Force has extended almost the whole time of AD2000 & Beyond. The Lord has used it as a tremendous global connection for leaders worldwide. Many thanks and praises to God for the leadership of Phill Butler and Mats Tunehag, for their great efforts and those of the others involved!

These reports will all be included along with other historical reports and data of the AD2000 & Beyond Movement, including the AD2000 website, and much more on a CD-ROM being produced for distribution at Celebrate Messiah 2000. Further distribution of this CD-ROM will also be made after the conference. Please email info@ad2000.org if you<> are interested in purchasing one of these CD-ROMs.

NOTE: Celebrate Messiah 2000 will be held in Jerusalem and Bethlehem 27 December 2000 - 2 January 2001. Registration invitation is still open to those so interested. Please contact Lauri Dennis, Registrar, at Lauri@ad2000.org for more information.<>

The AD2000 International Office will be closing early in 2001. Click here for more information.

Thank you for your interest in the AD2000 & Beyond Movement and its spiritual and catalytic outworkings into the 21st century. Please continue to pray for the movement until our closing day! Thank you!

That all may hear!

Luis Bush
International Director
AD2000 & Beyond Movement


THE BIBLE TRANSLATION TASK FORCE

Everyone needs to have and to understand the Bible. Only Scripture shows us who God is. His character and purposes are revealed nowhere else. Jesus' command to "make disciples of all peoples... teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you..." necessitates the Bible. The goal of the Church for every people must include providing that Church with the Scriptures in a language they can understand. So the purpose of the Bible Translation Task Force is clear.

Purpose

Recognising the essential role of the Scriptures in evangelism and in the discipling and nurturing of believers, this Task Force seeks to mobilise and network Bible translation agencies and related organisations for the purpose of systematically providing access to God's Word to all the peoples of the Earth in an appropriate form and in a language they readily understand in order that they may be brought to salvation, churches planted, and God's kingdom strengthened.

Goal

To facilitate networking among the Bible translation agencies to determine in what languages Scriptures still need to be translated and to develop strategies to stimulate and support needed translation work.

This goal is being carried out by utilising the already existing network of the Forum of Bible Agencies which was set up after the Lausanne II Congress in 1989 and comprises 17 International Bible agencies which have been cooperating together since then.

Objectives

In addition to the general objective shared by all the members of the Task Force that there should be an acceleration in the translation of Scriptures for all the peoples still needing them, some specific objectives were set in two areas.

1. Substantial parts of the Bible to be published in all languages with more than 500,000 speakers. 2. The assessment of translation needs completed for all languages with more than 250,000 speakers and significant progress made in assessing the smaller languages.

Progress

As far as the specific objectives are concerned, although the first objective has not been fully met, significant progress has been made. For instance, at the beginning of the decade, there were 39 languages with populations in excess of one million people, which had no portion of Scripture whatsoever translated for them. Now there are translation programmes started in almost all of these languages.

Regarding the second objective, there has been a considerable increase in the assessment of translation needs through the decade. Because of the way that members of the Forum work, assessment has tended to be in terms of languages in a geographical area rather than by the size of their population. For instance, in West Africa assessment in Ghana, Togo and Benin will be completed by the end of this year. Perhaps the best indicator of progress in Bible translation during this decade is illustrated by the comparison of the number of languages having Scripture at the beginning of the decade and the total now. This can be summarised as follows.

During these nine years, the number of languages with at least one book of the Bible has increased by 287 - an average of 32 languages each year. This figure is a 30% increase over the average for the previous decade, which was 25 languages each year. It is particularly encouraging to see that 234 additional languages now have the complete New Testament. Many of the languages in the group of those who had one book of the Bible now have the whole New Testament and a comparable number of new translation projects have been started, so that the figure of 902, though remaining the same, actually encompasses nearly 300 different languages.

It should be added that these figures of languages cover most of the major languages of the world. It is a matter of deep satisfaction that 85% of the population of the world potentially has access to a complete Bible in a language that they can understand. Another 8% of the world's population has potential access to some portion of Scripture, while the number of people without any access to Scripture in a language that they really understand appears to be approximately 7% of the world's total population.

In addition to these measurable achievements, the Task Force has seen the development of significantly increased partnership among the Bible agencies. The annual three-day meeting of the Chief Executive Officers of each agency has built strong relationships. A number of cooperative initiatives have been taken. For instance, a CD-Rom has been developed for Bible translators that includes a wide range of books and articles including various Bible translations, concordances, dictionaries, key commentaries, etc. Translators who often have no immediate access to a substantial library can now have the equivalent of a first class library of some 250 books particularly relevant to the translation task accessible through their laptops wherever they work.

Unfinished Task

The Bible Translation Task Force is very much aware that the task of Bible translation is far from complete. Many of the language groups that have a complete New Testament want and indeed need the full Bible; similarly for those languages, which now have at least one book of the Bible, more Scripture is needed. In addition to all these language groups, the estimate of languages that almost certainly will need Scripture translation is in the range of 2 - 3,000 further languages and these language groups have a total population of around 450 million people. Their spiritual needs are just as real as those of people who do have access to the whole Bible. The development of new computer-based technologies, the great growth of the Church in the Two-Thirds World, with the prospect of many more competent Christians available for this task, means that there can be continued acceleration in the pace of Bible translation.

With God's help and the partnership of His people worldwide, there is no reason why all the peoples of the Earth, large and small, should not have at least some Scripture in a language that speaks to their heart within the next 25 years.

Though the time has come for the dissolution of the AD2000 & Beyond movement, its vision and objectives as far as Bible translation is concerned, will continue to inspire the members of the Forum of Bible Agencies as they continue to work together and with God's people in all the countries of the world.

John Bendor-Samuel
May 2000

Back to the AD2000 home page

Webmaster
10/26/00