Site Navigation
Center for Deaf Scriptures

What is the need?

heart-icon

For 70 million people, sign language is their heart language.

fingerprint-icon

There are more than 400 unique sign languages in the world.

bible-icon

95% of these sign languages have NO Bible translation.

The need for sign language Bible translation is deep. Written translations for spoken languages do not provide the Deaf with meaningful access to the Scriptures in their heart language. In response to this great need, the movement for sign language Bible translation has been growing extensively.

One serious challenge that faces this movement is the need to provide Deaf translators and consultants with adequate biblical training. Deaf translators are faced with a unique set of challenges as they seek the training and resources necessary to carry out their work. First, it is difficult for Deaf translators to access the information taught in a traditional classroom designed for hearing students. While an interpreter can be utilized to convey course material, this creates an artificial communication environment that often leads to gaps in understanding and isolation of the Deaf student. In some cases, the method of education excludes Deaf students even when an interpreter is present.

Second, Deaf translators are challenged to find educational content and resources that address the unique needs of sign language Bible translation. Because sign languages are visual languages and utilize a different mode of communication than the original spoken/written text, translators must make difficult decisions about how to fill in the visual information (such as the size and shape of objects, the layout of the scene, and even the facial expressions of the characters). Sign language Bible translators must receive special training in order to provide this visual information.