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Some Good News in 2020: For the first time in history, Deaf People can engage with the entire Bible in their heart language.
COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa, Sept. 23, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Deaf Missions today announces their completion of the American Sign Language Version (ASLV) of the Bible. The historic work is the result of a thirty-eight-year project, translating the entire Bible from its source languages into American Sign Language (ASL). In 2020, Deaf people now finally have access to the entire Bible in their heart language – sign language.
"Words in printed English cannot explain the depth of the Bible to Deaf people," says Renca Dunn, Bible translator with Deaf Missions. "For many in the Deaf community, written English is a second language. American Sign Language does infinitely more than convey words; it allows ASL users to comprehend inflection and emotion. For the first time in all of history, new technology and the dedicated work of many people and organizations have made it so that those who are Deaf can engage with the Scriptures in a way that is meaningful to them."
Deaf Missions founder Duane King began the ASLV project in 1982 to break down the language barrier Deaf people face when it comes to engaging with the Bible. More than three decades ago, he asked, "Why can't Deaf people have the Bible in their heart language?" After 22 years, the New Testament was completed in 2004. With increased funding and vastly improved technology, Deaf Missions accelerated the translation process in 2017. Today, the entire Bible has been translated into ASL and is available to watch on the Deaf Missions website and the Deaf Missions Video App.
"I can't overstate how impactful this milestone is for Deaf Christians," said Chad Entinger, CEO of Deaf Missions. "It means Deaf children, with English as their second language, can more fully understand and richly engage with the Bible in their most natural language. It means Deaf Bible scholars can study the Scriptures in a new and deeper way. This translation will pave the way for other sign languages to create translations of their own; it's the beginning of a new era for Deaf Christians around the world."
The ASLV will be used as a resource text for other Bible translations – more than 400 different sign languages exist around the world.
This project was primarily translated by Deaf people, for Deaf people. It featured 53 different translators. Translator Renca Dunn continues: "We have worked tirelessly, translating the Bible into ASL from its original Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek languages. Still, there may never be total perfection in any language translation, but the ASLV provides a connection to Deaf people with sign language. When I see the Bible in sign language, I finally feel that God does get me…God signs my sign language."
Joseph Josselyn, chief media officer, sees the tremendous impact this translation will have, saying, "With the ASL Bible readily available and easily accessible on the Deaf Missions website and app, Deaf people are being given more opportunities than ever before to receive God's Word."
This project was possible through the generosity of countless supporters of Deaf Missions. Deaf Missions would like to acknowledge partnering organizations that helped make the completion of this work possible – American Bible Society, Deaf Bible Society, Deaf Harbor, DOOR International, Pioneer Bible Translators, The Seed Company, and Wycliffe USA.
All are invited to join a virtual celebration on October 1, 2020, at the Deaf Missions Facebook page.
Media are welcome to attend the event and can RSVP to Angie Mathis at firstname.lastname@example.org. For additional information, please refer to our media kit for the ASLV: www.deafmissions.com/aslv2020.
About Deaf Missions
Deaf Missions, whose mission is to clearly communicate the Gospel of Jesus with Deaf people through their heart language, culture and identity, is located in Council Bluffs, Iowa.
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