Deaf translation – Part 1

What does Deaf Bible translation look like? I had a vague idea of what it entailed from previous interactions with the translators, what had been explained, and my own experience with Chronological Bible Storying (CBS). But “vague” wasn’t cutting it for me now that I could communicate with the teams, so I spent a week sitting at their sides learning.


No translation is easy. The rigorous checks to make sure it’s accurate and clear. The actual translation using source texts. Imputing in computers. Add in the elements for sign languages and the technology used and you add another difficulty factor – editing software and hardware; filming and lights; living in another country as they’re working in a cluster project and are in training in Kenya…

So what is CBS? Summarized: it means taking a passage of Scripture and putting it in chronological order, still having the context of the passage, while putting it into a more narrative format.

For the Deaf, context is very important as it sets the stage for the conversation. Placing things in the correct order chronologically helps with the visual culture as well. And so the beautiful story of Scripture comes out.

Why not do a verse-by-verse translation? Well, some Deaf groups have tried it but it’s been unsuccessful in use in the Deaf communities. It’s not how they think or process in everyday life. When using the CBS method, the Scripture is used and understood much more widely.

None of the teams were working on the starting translation process at the time I was there, they had moved onto the next steps. So, not much detail on this step but hopefully it gives you an idea.

About Traveling Mosaic

I'm on a journey in this world, hence the "Traveling" part of the name. My life is also made up of pieces that, when the Master completes it, will be a beautiful Masterpiece, hence "Mosaic."
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