In 2017, United Bible Societies – a global network working in more than 200 countries and territories across the world – reported it assisted in scripture translations in 49 languages spoken by more than 580 million people.
Twenty of these languages – collectively spoken by more than 14 million people – were newly translated during 2017, and seven communities received the very first full Bible in their language, while four received their first New Testament and nine received their first, or additional, portions of Scripture.
Bible Societies also released 26 new translations and revisions, plus nine study editions, with the potential to reach more than 566 million people.
In 2017, Bible Societies in 32 countries ran Braille projects to meet the scripture needs of blind readers. Two languages received their first-ever portions of Braille scripture – Luganda (Uganda) and Khasi (India). A further four languages received additional Braille Scriptures – Oshikwanyama (Namibia), Kinyarwanda (Rwanda), Armenian (Armenia), German (2017 Luther Bible).
Bible Societies are also involved in 26 active sign language projects, with 10 more in the planning and preparation stages. This work has the potential to impact 12.9 million deaf people. Some 70 million deaf people use sign languages as their first language. But only 10% of the more than 400 unique sign languages that exist have any scripture, and those that do have very little. No sign language has the full Bible; American sign language comes closest, with the New Testament.