Did you know that there are hundreds of different sign languages in use around the world? You may not have realised that only a very small number of these have any parts of the Bible available to their language communities.
Surveys conducted by Wycliffe Bible Translators have already identified more than 200 living sign languages, and many estimate twice that number are in existence. It is estimated that worldwide there are over one-hundred million deaf people, often marginalized within the dominant communities around them, and living within their own deaf sub-cultures. In developing countries deafness frequently occurs at a much higher rate. It is not uncommon for babies and young children in these locales to lose their hearing before they learn to speak due to the limited availability of medical care for common conditions such as ear infections. Not knowing the spoken language, deaf children very rarely attend school, remaining illiterate throughout their lives.
The majority of sign languages in use today are undocumented and have limited vocabularies. As a result, portions of the Bible have been translated to very few sign languages. Our affiliates and partner organizations have linguists in the field who are working to understand, document, and translate the Bible into many of these sign languages. read more
JAARS, a partner organisation of Wycliffe, is helping this translation process by developing 3D animation software that can be used to communicate the message of the Bible. You can find out more about the animation software project here, and about Sign Language Bible translation in general at the Wordsign website.