A historic moment happened when we launched our first Oral Bible Translation (OBT) project in partnership with Faith Comes By Hearing (FCBH) amongst the Reli people of Uganda on the 14th of March, 2022. We have since started two more OBT projects, as well as two additional projects starting March 20th, in Uganda and two in Asia. We have initiated plans for OBT projects in Cameroon, Kenya, Nigeria, Zambia, and Northeast Africa, as well as additional projects in Asia. We see a big shift in emphasis from written to oral Bible translation that will provide quicker and better access to the Bible in languages where there are low literacy rates, as well as in languages that are spoken in the uncharted waters of the Middle and Far East.
70% to 80% of the world’s population are oral communities which is about 5.7 billion people. With this in mind, we see OBT as an essential part of moving towards our vision to complete first-time translations of the whole Bible in 1000 languages by 2050.
For those new to the concept of oral communities, they are culture groups that use speech, rather than writing, as a means of communication. Their cultures pass on their history, identity, religion, and practices through various oral art forms. Use of singing/songwriting, storytelling, proverbs, rites of passage, poetry, riddles and drama are all aspects of oral culture. These people have abilities and capacities that those who rely on the printed word do not. Their recall, their memory and their communication ability are phenomenal.
So, OBT method translates Scripture from an audio recording in one language to an audio recording in the new mother-tongue language — often with no writing required. See our blogs and social media posts in February and March where we will unpack much more about OBT as we build up to the launch of the first completion of the oral translation of the book of Luke in Uganda.
Remote people groups in hard-to-reach parts of the world can now interact orally with the Scriptures as passionately and naturally as they worship the one true God! And for those who do not know Jesus yet, they can hear God speak to them through listening to the Bible in their heart language and hear the Gospel straight from the Word. OBT is changing the heart-language Bible translation landscape!