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Bible for the Deaf Launched in Cape Town

The Bible Society of South Africa (BSSA) has launched a Bible for deaf people in the country.

The Bible for the Deaf is composed of 2,000 pages with 200 illustrations. It was created for deaf Christians in Cape Town, especially those who use the English language and sign language, reports South African news website, IOL.

Dr. Rocco Hough, who ministers the deaf community in Cape Town for 30 years, said this Bible is the first English translation done by the BSSA. He disclosed that many deaf Christians need the Bible, but the existing translations are “too difficult for most deaf people.”

He added that, “We have attempted to provide a Bible for 80% of deaf people in South Africa. This Bible has been translated so that the majority of deaf people who receive their education in English will understand it.”

Hough said to prevent deaf members from misunderstanding the context of Bible passages, footnotes and illustrations were included to clarify certain concepts.

“An example to demonstrate this is: ‘Jacob walks to the well’. Deaf readers may make the sign for ‘ok’ (as in, ‘all is well’) which is wrong. We will then make use of a footnote (on that specific page of the Bible) as well as an illustration to explain the concept of a well as a hole in the ground with water in it,” he explained.

After the Afrikaans Bible for the Deaf, “Die Bybel vir Dowes,” was published in 2007, many people expressed interest in having an English Bible for the Deaf.

The BSSA started the project in 2011 and the translation was completed after five years. Various experts, including source-language experts and deaf readers, were tapped for the project.

“We have a linguist who helps us to produce a good English translation, but adapted to help deaf readers, known as deaf-orientated English,” said Hough.

He is confident that the Bible for the Deaf will be a great tool for deaf members who want to learn about the Gospel.

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