Wycliffe Bible Translators is continuing to support the work of Bible translation across the world, despite the upheavals and uncertainties caused by the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak.

Although many Wycliffe workers have returned to the UK and Ireland, a considerable number have remained in their host countries. However, wherever they are based, most of them are still able to continue the crucial work of Bible translation despite the restrictions placed on them by the coronavirus outbreak, due to their strong relationships with local partners.

Meanwhile, although all four offices in the UK (High Wycombe, Belfast, Edinburgh and Bridgend) have had to close, the staff team have switched to home-working and all office systems continue to function normally.

James Poole, Executive Director of Wycliffe, says: ‘Wycliffe has workers all over the world, so a key aspect of our response has been ensuring the welfare of those serving overseas. What we have done has varied according to the local situation, resulting in very different outcomes – even within the same continent. So, for example, most of our workers in East Africa have returned, but those in West Africa have largely remained. As a result, we still have 117 people overseas. Although they are unlikely to be able to return to the UK in the near future, we are in constant contact with them.’

A Bagwere boy reads his Bagwere New Testament

In the midst of the pandemic, stories of the impact of Bible translation continue to come in. For example, this excerpt from the Bagwere Bible translation project in Uganda, published in the past week:

‘As more copies of the New Testament reach the hands of local people, excitement and enthusiasm for the whole Bible to be available continues to grow. Alongside this, churches are expanding as more people are able to read, or listen to Scripture being used in services.’

James comments: ‘Though the coronavirus outbreak is bringing much disruption to the world, God is very much at work, drawing people to him. At this time when people are desperately looking for answers and solutions to what is happening, and are thinking more about life and death questions, it is vital that we get the word of God into people’s hands in the language they understand best.’


Notes to Editors

1. For further information, call Jeremy Weightman on the Wycliffe Communications Team on 0300 303 1111.

2. Wycliffe Bible Translators seeks to enable all peoples to engage with the Bible in a language that speaks to them best. It does this through a range of activities, including Bible translation, literacy and Scripture use initiatives. Currently, Wycliffe has 363 people from the UK and Ireland serving 486 million people who speak 368 languages in 71 countries. Of the 7,300 or so languages spoken worldwide today, only about 700 have the Bible. Around 1.5 billion people (1 in every 5 people) do not have the Bible in their language. As a result, translation of the Bible into people’s languages is one of the critical needs in world mission, to enable the growth of evangelism and discipleship ministries.

3. Images. You can download the following images to accompany the press release, by clicking on the ‘Image’ link:

Image 1 – Bagwere people hold up their New Testaments

Image 2 – A Bagwere boy reads his Bagwere New Testament

Image 3 – A Bagwere woman read her Bagwere New Testament

Image 4 – Bible translators soemtimes work in very difficult conditions: here, a Bible translator translates the Bible in his makeshift shelter in a refugee camp