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2014 -- A Remarkable Year for Bible Translation, Despite Challenges
Contact: Andrea Rhodes, United Bible Societies, +44(0)118-952-1428

SWINDON, England, April 30, 2015 /Christian Newswire/ -- A new record in Bible translation may have been set in 2014 for the highest number of new Scripture translations published in one year. According to the 2014 Global Scripture Access Report, published this week by United Bible Societies, last year Bible Societies helped complete translations in 51 languages spoken by more than 1.3 billion people (1.2 billion Chinese speakers and 146 million speakers of other languages.)

Some of these translations were launched in countries facing significant challenges. In Nigeria, for instance, where militant Islamic group Boko Haram carried out deadly attacks, the Bible Society launched four new Bible translations. One of them, the Bura Bible, was completed and launched in December, despite a Boko Haram bomb attack on the Bura Bible translation office in September. All of these were first-time translations, potentially giving 2.1 million Nigerians access to the full Bible in their heart language for the first time.

Liberia, too, faced enormous difficulties last year, losing more people to Ebola than any other country, but the Bible Society there launched two first-time full Bible translations. The Bible in Kpelle and Southern Kisi, spoken by nearly a million people, arrived at a time when people needed God's Word in their language more than ever before. But Southern Kisi speakers, most of whom live in the worst affected area of Liberia - Foyah District in Lofa County - delayed their celebrations until January 2015, when the situation had stabilised.

"That day they forgot about Ebola and came out in great numbers to march in celebration of the first Bible in their language," notes Paul Stevens, who leads the Bible Society of Liberia.

These launches in Nigeria and Liberia were among 30 'first-time' translations published across the world last year in languages spoken by nearly 10 million people. 18 language groups received their very first full Bible, 10 received their first New Testament, and two received shorter portions of Scripture for the first time.

The full Bible is now available in 542 languages spoken by 4.9 billion people, while the New Testament is available in 1,324 languages spoken by a further 673 million people. 1,020 languages have shorter portions of Scripture, while 4,015 languages spoken by 460 million people are still without any Scripture at all.

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