Wycliffe Global Alliance has published their annual update of Bible translation statistics. In a snapshot of data from around the world, the update gives the headline numbers for the availability of Scripture in the 7,097 languages used around the world today.
The most striking figure this year is the significant increase in languages known to have some Scripture. Standing at 2,932 in 2015 this has shot up to 3,223 for 2016.
Why the dramatic rise? Some of the increase reflects the growing Bible translation movement, 2400 projects taking place in more than 165 countries; some is due to an expansion of what is counted. The count now includes a growing number of audio and video Scripture translation products as well as printed books. But this year’s figures are also the result of improved research. ‘We have access to more data from more organisations,’ says Peter Brassington, Wycliffe’s point person for the annual statistics update, ‘meaning we know more this year than we did last year’.
‘By working with more organisations we have a better idea of what is going on around the world and a fuller picture of the current state of Bible translation.’
However, there are still gaps in knowledge and understanding as Peter is quick to point out. ‘We know much more this year than we did last, but we also know that there are still gaps in our knowledge. There are parts of the world we would love to know more about concerning what’s happening within the communities, as well as their felt needs for ongoing work’.
While it’s a great achievement to have passed 3,200 languages with access to some Scripture, it’s important to put this figure in context. Some Scripture does not even mean the language community has access to a whole book from the Bible, it may just be a passage or two. And while the number of languages with access to complete Bibles has increased by 82, to 636, there are still 1.5 billion people without access to the full Bible in their primary language.
To read November 2016 full statistics and associated information, visit www.wycliffe.net/statistics