SA Sign Language

Language: South African Sign Language
People Group: Deaf community in South Africa
People Group Size: 600,000
Location: South Africa
Lifestyle: N/A

Translation Time-frame: 2018-2021
Translation Phase: 1
Translation Goals: 110 Visual Bible stories
Source Languages: English
Managing Partners: Seed Company

There are approximately 600,000 individuals in South Africa who use South African Sign Language (SASL) as their first language. More than 70% of these individuals are profoundly Deaf, so SASL becomes a visual solution for those who cannot read or write. To make the Bible available to the Deaf in South Africa, a team of Deaf translators are working to translate the written English Bible into SASL in video format – a Visual Bible for the Deaf.

What the Deaf translators are actually producing is more like a study Bible in South African Sign Language -- filming each Bible story translation, together with an introduction, as well as questions and answers to each story being translated. We pray this approach will have a huge impact on the largely unchurched Deaf population.

To our knowledge, SASL is the largest remaining language community in South Africa still waiting to have the Bible translated into their “heart language”. All those involved in this project have committed to a five-year plan of translating 110 Bible stories. During lockdown, the translation team has been able to continue with their work! They had just enough time to set up makeshift studios in individual team member’s homes and stay connected with the consultants via Zoom.


  • That a major funder for the project will approve a three-year funding renewal request that has been submitted.
  • For the smooth integration of three new staff members, all Deaf, who will be joining the team in January: an additional translator, a project manager, and a Scripture Engagement worker.
  • For the organization and implementation of the community testing of the 45 DISC stories and that the team will be able to successfully test all stories before September 30, 2021.
  • That developing relationships with Deaf communities across southern Africa will bear fruit in the form of new sign language translations.

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