In September, the deaf Christian community celebrated the completion of the first ever full digital sign language Bible in the world called the American Sign Language Version (ASLV). Now, the ASLV has opened the door for the production of Bible translations in other sign languages, DOOR International president Rob Myers said, according to Mission Network News.
The ASLV, together with DOOR International's ASL Chronological Bible Translation that was completed in October, could help other sign language translation teams working in different parts of the world, Myers said. These two translations could serve as "source versions" for those who are translating the Bible in other sign languages, he added.
ASL "has connections to several other sign languages, both in North America, as well as western Africa, and even parts of Asia," Myers explained. Because ASL is not unfamiliar to other sign languages, translators can use the two finished ASL Bible translations as reference.
With limited resources in the field of sign language Bible translation, this is great news. The two ASL Bibles can help speed up the work being done in other sign languages.
Myers is optimistic that more digital Bibles for deaf Christians can be created. At present, DOOR International is working on 10 sign language Bible translations. Two more projects will be added next year-one in Madagascar and another in South Asia.
There are about 350 sign languages in the world, and according to Myers, 90% of them "don't have any published Scripture at all." On the other hand, there are more than a hundred Bible versions in the English language. He encouraged believers to support sign language Bible translation work.
DOOR International is a ministry that focuses on translating the Bible into sign language and evangelizing and training the deaf community. Its ASL Chronological Bible Translation is actually "not a complete Bible" but a "foundational Bible" that missionaries and church planters can use as they reach out to the deaf, Myers said in another report.
This digital Bible contains 119 "key passages" from Genesis to Revelation that help present the gospel in a way that can be easily understood. These passages also show who we are according to God's design. They are meant specifically for deaf persons who don't know Jesus yet or are not yet familiar with the Bible.
The ASLV Bible, on the other hand, is a full Bible. Its creation began as an initiative of the Deaf Bible Society. The entire translation work was participated in by various organizations, namely, Deaf Missions, Deaf Harbor, Wycliffe USA, DOOR International, American Bible Society, The Seed Company, and Pioneer Bible Translators.
Deaf Bible Society has made the two sign language Bible translations available on its website and through its app. Since their release, more than three million deaf persons now have access to these digital Bibles.
"We believe that providing access is really what can ... create an opportunity for individuals to live a life that's biblically-centered," Deaf Bible Society CEO Chantel Pagan said. The ASLV Bible took 38 long years to finish.