Entire Bible translated into American Sign Language
Religion News Service | 3/6/2020, 6 a.m.
When Howard Mallory first saw the Gospel of Matthew rendered in American Sign Language nearly 15 years ago, he said he was able to understand it more easily than when reading it in English.
“Seeing it in sign language, it was amazing,” said Mr. Mallory, 79, a deaf Jehovah’s Witness from Northfield, N.H. “Of course, we wanted more. Only one book was done.”
On Feb. 15, the last of the Bible’s 66 books — the story of Job — was released in video on the Jehovah’s Witnesses website, completing what Robert Hendriks, U.S. spokesman for the church, said is the only complete Bible in ASL.
Already, there have been 60 million downloads of the free videos — the signers are all men, dressed in jackets and ties — with the English translation below, since the Gospel of Matthew was released in 2006.
“We’re not aware of any other translation ever in history in sign language, in any sign language that is complete,” Mr. Hendriks said in an interview. “There are many who have the begun the translation, some who feel they’ll finish it soon, some who are way off. But this is the first complete Bible with the 66 books.”
According to the website of United Bible Societies, other Bible societies have been working on a similar goal.
“We look forward to celebrating on October 1, 2020, the faithful, diligent work of those who have worked with Deaf Missions through the years to get all 66 books translated into ASL — the native, preferred and heart language of deaf people,” said Chad Entinger, chief executive officer of the Iowa-based Deaf Missions.
The Jehovah’s Witnesses ASL Bible brings the complete versions of the church’s 1950 New World Translation to 186.