Let us look at the world Bible translation for sign languages Geoffrey Hunt
2 apologies • Firstly, that I, a hearing person, am leading this session. • Secondly, because I suddenly found I needed to prepare this session, I wasn’t around yesterday to greet many of you when you arrived.
Some numbers … • About 270 sign languages are known • Number will probably rise above 400 • Perhaps 50 have had translations started • Most started by hearing churches or groups • Only 1 SL has a complete New Testament • 3 hearing organizations: IMB, UBS, SIL (?YWAM) • 1 hearing-led mainly Deaf organization: DOOR • 2 Deaf-led organizations: CICBTSL & “PASTA” • The 6
Why translate? • These organizations divide into two groups: • IMB & DOOR aim to develop Deaf churches • UBS & SIL want Deaf Christians to have adequate Scriptures (UBS church driven, SIL need driven) • They all start with Bible translation. Why? • Can never have a strong church without the Bible • Deaf churches 60 times more effective than hearing churches with interpretation. • Now Deaf groups are beginning to take over leadership: CICBTSL and “PASTA”
Which approach to translation is most effective? • Translating into sign languages is much slower • Need to give great understanding with little work • DOOR & IMB use short chunks of Scripture: • The truth of the Scriptures is taught by stories, etc. • Stories have to be in the order in which they happened • UBS & SIL use mixed approaches: short chunks & every verse • Breakthrough in Kerala • Breakthroughs in Central Europe
Now something about CICBTSL • Committee of International Cooperation for Bible Translation in Sign Language • Chose their own name • Their sign is much easier than the words • Deaf Christians met in Nov 2008 in Costa Rica, helped by UBS. • Decided that Deaf people should give the lead • Chose Christian Ramirez as their leader. • Also supported financially by SIL • Training given by SIL
Then came “PASTA” • Pacific & Asia Sign Language Translation Association • With encouragement from SIL Asian Deaf met to decide what they should do. • Only called in a hearing person when needed • Decided it was their responsibility to provide Scriptures for Asia Deaf. • They included all countries: from Pakistan in the west to China in the east; from Mongolia in the north to New Zealand in the south. • Needed to find out how many languages, e.g. China
Where other partners work • DOOR • mainly Africa (bringing Deaf teams to Nairobi for months at a time) and southern India (Kerala) • IMB • mainly S.E. & E. Asia, with some work in S. Africa, S. America, Middle East and Central Europe. • UBS • mainly Europe, Americas & Japan • SIL • facilitating projects worldwide, language survey,
SL Global partners’ meetings • About 2½ weeks ago the 6 plus a number of small American groups met to discuss the global challenges of translation into sign languages: • ½ Deaf, ½ hearing; priority given to Deaf participants • Some challenges (as listed by Mark Sauter): • Better communication between different organizations • Empowering Deaf Christians • Funding
Useful comments • Deaf groups mostly use memory rather than writing. • Signed Scripture is true Scripture • Need Deaf translation consultants • Translation acceptance by authoritative Deaf person • Unintended interference from hearing when filming • Using sign roots makes a translation more useful • Problems with filming, e.g. lights, clothing, hair • Clear, accurate, natural & acceptable translations • Hearing people have money, Deaf don’t – partnership • Storyboarding is a useful approach to translating • WFD believe 35 million people are culturally Deaf.
Deaf in this part of the world • What should Deaf from this part of the world be doing?