Every Tribe, Every Nation
When does the Bible as a printed book no longer serve its purpose to inspire people and offer them hope? One answer is when you can’t find the Bible in a language of your choice; or, when you want the Bible in a non-print format. Now, thanks to the generosity of the Mart Green family of Oklahoma City, the inspiring and life-changing message of the Bible will one day be available in all living languages and in digital formats.
With startup funding from the Green family, the United Bible Societies (represented by the American Bible Society), Biblica, and the Wycliffe Bible Translators have joined forces in a project called Every Tribe, Every Nation to meet the need for digital Bibles and Scriptures in all living languages. There are some 6909 living languages according to one authoritative source called Ethnologue of which only a fraction have either a full Bible or a portion of the Bible.
One of the project’s first steps is to discern which of the Scripture-less languages has priority. If a language has many speakers it may rank higher than a language that is considered endangered because there are too few speakers.
The project will reach its first major milestone in 2-5 years when it puts 160 already existing translations into a digital format for delivery on the internet, on iPhones, and other software platforms.
The work of translating the Bible into all the 6909 languages and then converting the translations into software formats will span the next 20-25 years.
ABS will bring the Nida Institute, its research and service arm, into the project to provide training and capacity building for the many teams and scholars deployed across the project.
Steve Berneking, Scott Elliott, Translation and the Machine: Technology, Meaning, and Praxis (2008)
Charles Ess, ed., Critical Thinking and the Bible (2004)
Paul Lewis, editor, Languages of the World. 16th edition (2009)
Fernando Segovia, Bob Fowler, Edith Blumhofer, eds., New Paradigms for Bible Study (2004)