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Scripture Completed in 49 Languages Last Year
Contact: Gunnar Mägi, United Bible Societies, +372-503-4980

SWINDON, England, March 13, 2018 /Christian Newswire/ -- In 2017, Bible Societies assisted in the completion of Scripture translations in 49 languages spoken by more than 580 million people.

First Translations:
2017 was a 'first' for 20 languages, spoken by over 14 million people. 7 communities received the very first full Bible in their language, 4 received their first New Testament and 9 communities received their first, or additional, portions of Scripture.

New Translations:
Languages change and develop over time. That is why Bible Societies are also committed to revising existing translations or providing new translations, when requested, giving new generations the chance to meaningfully engage with Scripture. In 2017, this resulted in 26 new translations and revisions, plus 9 study editions, with the potential to reach more than 566 million people.

Reaching People with Visual Disabilities:
In 2017, Bible Societies in 32 countries ran Braille projects to meet the Scripture needs of blind readers. Two languages received their first ever portions of Braille Scripture - Luganda (Uganda) and Khasi (India). A further four languages received additional Braille Scriptures - Oshikwanyama (Namibia), Kinyarwanda (Rwanda), Armenian (Armenia), German (2017 Luther Bible).

Sign Language Scriptures for Deaf Communities:
Bible Societies are currently involved in 26 active sign language projects, with 10 more in the planning and preparation stages. This work has the potential to impact 12.9 million Deaf people. 70 million Deaf people use sign languages as their 'first' or heart language. But only 10% of the more than 400 unique sign languages that exist have any Scripture, and those that do have very little. No sign language has the full Bible; American Sign Language comes closest, with the New Testament.

Scripture Access Today:
Each year United Bible Societies compiles data from Bible Societies and progress.Bible™, to present the global status report of the Scripture access. At the end of 2017 there were 7,097 languages in the world spoken by over 7.6 billion people*. 674 languages, spoken by nearly 5.4 billion people, now have a complete Bible and a further 1,515 languages, spoken by 631 million people, have a New Testament. This leaves 406 million people with only some portions of Scripture, and a further 209 million people with no Scripture in their language.

Looking Ahead:
While great strides have been made in Bible translation, much work still lies ahead to provide some portion of Scripture to the 209 million with no Scripture at all in their language and to increase the amount of Scripture for the 1 billion people with only part of the Bible. United Bible Societies is working towards the day when everyone can access the full Bible in the language of their choice and is currently working on over 400 translation projects around the world.

Commenting these figures, Michael Perreau, United Bible Societies Director General said: "The Bible for everyone. This is the mission that drives us forward in everything we do, and Bible translation plays a central role in that as we seek to serve churches of all denominations. What an encouragement to see the impact of this work in 2017 – not just the numbers of translations completed but how lives are being changed, too."

To download a PDF of this report, which is packed with case studies, graphics and includes an Appendix of languages published in 2017 click here:
www.unitedbiblesocieties.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/GSAR-2017_UK_brochure_final_lowres_spreads.pdf.

About the United Bible Societies:
The United Bible Societies is a global network of Bible Societies working in more than 200 countries and territories across the world. Together, United Bible Societies members are the world's biggest translator, publisher and distributor of the Bible. Bible Societies are also active in areas such as HIV/AIDS prevention, trauma healing and literacy. United Bible Societies works with all Christian Churches and many international non-governmental organisations. Read more:
www.unitedbiblesocieties.org.

*Data for first language speakers does not currently equal the current world population.