Sign Language Bible Translation Year End Report

The Short Version:
  • ·         Genesis Translation Finished
  • ·         Matthew 1-10 almost  ready to record
  • ·         New Funding, New Full-time Translator
  • ·         Asia-wide Comprehensive Sign Language Bible Translation Meeting
  • ·         World-wide Sign Language Bible Translation Organization
  • ·         New Funding Opportunities


More Details:

In the first half of the year, we celebrated the completion of the final portion of Genesis. Pastors Matsumoto and Minamida made trips to Hong Kong and China to work help Sign Language Bible translation there.

The second half was even better. We were able to hire a new full-time translator with SIL International Asia Area funding ViBi at $25,000/year beginning in October. She is in training now, working with Pastor Minamida on Matthew 1-10, adding quality and speed to his translation. Recording session is planned for January. She is also doing some translation on her own.

We’re also thankful for new training opportunities. In Japan, Pastor Hori, a Deaf man who has studied Greek and Hebrew, is training in accuracy checking. The next module of new funding that we receive is slated for hiring him full-time. Pray that it comes soon! In Malaysia, Pastor Matsumoto interacted with Deaf translators from Brazil, Costa Rica, Finland, Kenya, Malaysia, and the U.S., as well as with the larger community. He came away with a whole new vision for connecting the Deaf community of Japan with the Word of God. Later in Dallas, three from ViBi joined the international group again, this time for training in translation, linguistics, and planning.

These meetings came from the Committee for International Cooperation in SLBT (Sign Language Bible Translation), a movement that began a year ago at the United Bible Society meeting in Costa Rica, with funding from SIL. Pastor Matsumoto was involved in the planning, and Pastor Minamida joined the leadership team during the Dallas meetings. Pray for them as they seek to coordinate and support SLBT around the world.

Apart from this larger group, ViBi has been at work in Asia. We cooperated with SIL International to host a meeting of leaders in Asia connected with SLBT projects. Our goal was to create a comprehensive plan for all of Asia which will include a funding proposal for the whole region. The group went far beyond that. They formed an organizing committee to start an Asia-wide SLBT Association, with a vision to make sure that all the SLBT needs in the Asia area are met.

As a side benefit to the project, ViBi’s leadership in pulling this group together, and the depth of our translation process earned the respect of a funding agency representative present there. Shortly after that, completely unplanned, we met him again in Malaysia, and then again in Dallas.  This paved the way for us to re-apply for a large grant proposal. Pray that we will find favor.


About Mark and Mary Esther Penner

Mark works as an adviser and resource to a Japanese Sign Language Bible translation project that plays a key role in the worldwide sign language Bible translation movement. Mary Esther founded a non-profit organization that partners with local communities and organizations to collect, refurbish and send wheelchairs throughout Asia.
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