At Deaf Bible Society, we believe that the Great Commission is true for all people, including those who are Deaf. We believe that Deaf people have a right to access the Bible in their sign languages, providing opportunity for life transformation and a personal relationship with God and community within the church.
Of the more than 350 identified sign language communities, only one has access to all 66 books of the Bible. More than 58 million Deaf people are still without access to God’s Word. We know that Christian communities thrive when they access and engage with God’s Word. This is what drives our mission to provide God’s Word in Every Sign Language.
Our vision is to create local, sustainable, Great Commission initiatives among Deaf people globally, to reveal the hope of the Gospel so that every Deaf person has the opportunity to receive, experience and participate in it’s advancement. This pioneering commitment extends to nearly every continent through more than 80 partnering organizations.
Deaf Bible Society’s collaborative approach aims to meet the essential needs of national Deaf organizations to advance the sign language Bible movement. Our training and equipping programs, as well as our products, such as, the Deaf Bible App, Deaf Church Where, and Deaf Bible Together are designed solely with Deaf people and their sign languages in mind.
Deaf Bible Society is diligently and strategically working with partners far and wide in the following areas to reach the world’s Deaf communities with the Gospel:
Applied Research to uncover the many unknowns about the numerous Deaf communities that exist around the world and the sign languages they use to communicate.
Curriculum and Training to equip Deaf leaders advancing translation efforts and developing Scripture-engaged communities.
Creating innovative tools and technology for Deaf people to engage with God’s Word and have a Bible to call their own.
Accelerating the translation of Scripture into many sign languages.
Deaf Bible Society’s Core Areas of Work
Aveditz, our applied research team and four key sign language Bible translation partners (DOOR, SIL, GSLT, and APSDA) are working together, building the necessary framework for the linguistic background and inventory on sign languages, Deaf communities, and signed Bible translation. Various articles, books, and other resources have been gathered and indexed, along with profiles created and shared for many sign language Bible translation teams. Our team and partners are passionate about collaboratively gathering the necessary data to provide thought leadership to provide God’s Word in Every Sign Language.
Curriculum and Training
As Scripture becomes available in sign languages for the first time, Deaf communities need a deeper understanding of how to engage with God’s Word in a heart language. Scripture Engagement Training (SET) is tailored to wrestle with language and identity that inspires Deaf leaders to grow in Deaf ministry, teaching, evangelizing, and preaching with the hope of seeing Scripture-engaged communities. Signed Scripture application for daily life and church settings is essential for rising Deaf leaders to stand on a solid foundation, leading the way to establish Scripture engagement programs in their communities.
Consultants and Resources Development (CoRD) addresses the urgent need for Deaf consultants. This program focuses on vital training and qualifying Deaf consultants. A comprehensive Code of Ethics and training program with the necessary resources for Deaf consultants to excel in their professional work are being developed.
The Josiah School of Translation (JST) is centered on training Deaf translation teams. This program specifically designed to equip sign language Bible translation teams to pursue course work together in various locations. These courses include Language/Culture, Project Administration, Bible Survey, Video Production, Exegesis, and Translation. The first cohort received one hundred twenty-six hours of direct and in-depth instruction through direct sign language rather than through an interpreter. The knowledge and understanding gained from this advanced program is immeasurable, impacting Deaf generations to come.
The Sign Language Translation Tool (SLTT) is being developed in partnership with United Bible Societies and is currently used by six translation projects. SLTT is a Deaf-friendly, web-based software accelerating sign language Bible translation work. For the first time, teams have software designed to support the translation process through sign language videos and written format. Recognizing that both Deaf and hearing people work together on sign language Bible translation projects, SLTT software ensures all team members access for greater collaboration and ownership. Nearly 30 sign languages have some Scripture translated. Deaf Bible Society hopes that over the next three years, more than 100 sign languages with Scripture content will be available to Deaf communities worldwide. SLTT is a critical tool as team members work together from various time zones around the world to accelerate His Kingdom work.
The Deaf Bible Platform offers free and unlimited access to signed Scriptures to Deaf communities around the world. Deaf Church Where shines a bright light on accessible churches across the nation, building relationships between Deaf peoples and their communities.
Chameleon is a markerless motion capture system in development. The objective is to mask the identity of a signer on camera using artificial intelligence tracking and avatars. In places with security risks, a signer’s identity can be recognized on camera, potentially putting the entire family, the translation team, and even a project in danger. When a signer’s reputation overrides the message, scrutiny and even rejection become possible within the community. Avatars rectify this issue by replacing the signer’s appearance.
Leveraging cutting edge technology, innovative solutions ensure that all Deaf communities have access to receive and experience the Gospel.
Addressing Bible translation barriers, Translation Acceleration (TRACC) collaborates with other Bible translation allies to fully support international sign language translation teams. Our Field Coordinators represent resource partnerships, connecting translation teams to their prayer and finance stakeholders. Our Language Program Managers connect teams with technical resources and consulting services. These areas serve the impact partner, the local community, that will use the translated Scripture. Both resource and technical coordination will equip translation teams to produce Bible translations that fully communicate the richness of God’s Word in ways that are most meaningful to Deaf communities.