October 11, 2017

Wycliffe Associates, an international organization involving people in the advancement of Bible translation, plans to begin 20 MAST (Mobilized Assistance Supporting Translation) workshops in the next 90 days to meet a growing demand from language groups historically overlooked for Bible translation project starts.

“For decades [or longer] Bible translation in these remote areas could only happen if foreigners were willing to live there, learn the language and painstakingly translate the Bible line upon line,” said Bruce Smith, president and CEO of Wycliffe Associates, in a Oct. 9 news release.

A MAST training workshop is the first step in a process that enables a church community to obtain the Scriptures for their language group. MAST is a collaborative translation method that was first piloted by Wycliffe Associates in 2014. Working over a two-week period, a group of mother-tongue translators completed the drafting and accuracy-checking process for approximately half of the New Testament in their language. There was no decrease in the quality of the translation compared to traditional translation methods.

During a MAST training workshop, leaders can assess the pace at which mother-tongue translators are able to draft and check Scripture. The pace of translation depends on a variety of factors, including a translator’s education, biblical knowledge and language skill. Near the end of the workshop, leaders are asked to develop a plan for the completion of the translation project.

Church leaders from numerous isolated language groups are reaching out to Wycliffe Associates to ask for MAST tools and training. As part of a MAST training workshop, Wycliffe Associates provides mother-tongue translators with computer tablets loaded with software, training, technical connectivity and safe shelter where the translators can work collaboratively and discreetly.

“Many of these folks live in regions of persecution,” Smith said. “They’ve been pushed aside by those in political power. And sadly, they’ve been unreached by Bible translation. There are so many language groups crying for help. I often have to admit to them that we simply don’t have the resources at this time.”

The cost of conducting a MAST training workshop is $19,500. Since 2014, more than 1,000 translation projects have been started using MAST.

“I have visited a remote area of Indonesia where a church was planted 182 years ago, but they now have the Scriptures in their own language for the first time ever,” Smith said. “Thank God, MAST makes the difference.”

For more information about Wycliffe Associates and the MAST program, click here. (TAB)