SIL/Wycliffe: racing against extinction...

Error message

(David) Wycliffe Bible Translator's ambitious Vision 2025 project seeks to begin a Bible translation in every unreached tongue by 2025. To do this Wycliffe is ramping up new translation projects. Currently they're beginning a new translation every five days--and the pace isn't equal to the goal. According to Wycliffe the current pace will only achieve the goal by 2038. Simple math suggests that Wycliffe is planning over 2200 new translations of the Scriptures.

This despite the fact that languages are going extinct around the world at a pace of one every two weeks. According to the National Geographic (via the New York Times) over half the world's current 7,000 languages will have disappeared by the end of the twenty-first century.

(David) Wycliffe is understandable chary on details about its translation projects on its web sites. Very little information can be found about number of Wycliffe translations completed to date, number of translations currently in process, number being done in tongues destined for extinction, number of speakers of languages of planned translations, number of translations being done in languages where the majority of speakers are literate in a trade or national language...

Wycliffe has a page on its web site titled, When Will We Finish? The answer, depressingly enough, seems to be never:

Working together, with God, Vision 2025 can be accomplished in this generation! But, Vision 2025 is not the end. It marks the entry into the last language still needing Scripture translation. Bible translation will come to an end when all people have access to adequate Scriptures in a language they can understand. The Bible reveals a picture of heaven with people from all nations and languages present. The translated Word will help to make this possible.  Is God calling you to be a part of fulfilling this vision?

I fear SIL/Wycliffe has already started the process of morphing into an anthropological/linguistic "Save the Dying Languages of the World" NGO even as it claims the mantle of perpetual retranslator to the world.

Has anyone anywhere examined the premises of Wycliffe/SIL's current work? Is there any watchdog asking these and other obvious questions of the largest independent missionary sending agency in the world?

Tags: