Half of the Bible has already been translated into sign language.
This is a milestone for the deaf community in Ukraine, as the world's only complete sign language Bible exists only in the United States. Considering that the sign language spoken in Ukraine is also used in many former CIS countries, this translation benefits the deaf even abroad.
At the beginning of June 2020, it will be 11 years since Jehovah's Witnesses began translating the Scriptures. During this period, the entire New Testament and some parts of the Old Testament were translated. It is planned to complete the translation of the Bible three times faster — in just 4 years.
“Acceleration of translation will be possible due to the fact that the number of translators has been increased by thirty percent and two additional video studios have been set up. Some technical and administrative processes have also been optimized. This saves time, and the quality of translation remains high”, said Arsen Ayriyants, a member of the Presiding Committee of Jehovah's Witnesses in Ukraine.
Both hearing persons whose parents are deaf (CODA) and the deaf themselves take part in the translation. “Translation is usually a work for the one who can hear. But here everything is different. I have goosebumps because deaf people are involved in translating such a book”, — says one of the deaf translators. And another adds, “We try to make deaf people, looking at the Bible in sign language, imagine and feel the same as do hearing people when they read the Holy Scriptures.”
“It is much more convenient when we cooperate with deaf people from different countries. This helps us to create a universal translation that is understandable to most deaf people who live in different countries and use the same sign language. This applies, for example, to Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus, Kazakhstan, the Baltic countries, etc.”, said a deaf participant of the project from abroad.
Translators in Ukraine are also assisted by a special web resource where Bible translators from other countries share experiences. In parallel with Ukraine, other groups are working on a biblical translation in Brazil, Colombia, Japan, Korea and Mexico.
Assessing the translation of the New Testament in sign language, the Ukrainian Society of the Deaf noted that “since deaf people can now perceive a part of the Holy Scriptures in sign language they understand, the video edition will help to satisfy the spiritual interests of people with hearing impairments.”
Translated pieces of Scripture can be viewed for free online or downloaded from JW.ORG® or the JW Library Sign Language® application.
Reference information. The 33rd part of the Bible, which was translated into sign language in Ukraine, was the book of Joshua. This book tells about important historical events of the people of Israel that influenced the appearance of Jesus Christ. Also, current believers can be comforted and assured that all the Bible's promises will be fulfilled.