English Bible for the Deaf



To make a Bible available in deaf-orientated English for deaf people in South Africa and Africa, who use an English language Bible.


  • Because people learn spoken language primarily through imitation and verbal communication, people who are born deaf have specific language and reading needs.
  • For most deaf people, the Bible is a closed book they cannot understand.
  • Many schools for the Deaf in South Africa and Africa use English as the medium of instruction.
  • For most deaf people, Sign Language is their mother tongue and they would no doubt prefer a visual Bible in the Sign Language they understand, but

       - a visual Bible would be a very expensive project
       - in South Africa there are 12 different Sign Language dialects and at least a further 150 in Africa
       - the Bible text does not always lend itself to the use of Sign Language.

  • The English Bible for the Deaf will be translated so that the majority of deaf people who receive their education in English will understand it.

       - a limited vocabulary
       - many footnotes and illustrations

  • The translation team started work in 2011 and the basic translation of all the books of the Bible has been completed. It was translated from Bible source texts (Hebrew and Greek). The translation is being processed through various phases before completion. Source-text experts, linguists, Deaf readers etc all play a role. It is projected that this translation will be completed by the end of 2018.
  • The Deuterocanonical Books have already been translated.
  • The translation has a website where books from the Bible can be read for comment.


Expected impact
  • This translation will help make the Bible accessible for many deaf people in South Africa as well as in Africa.


How can you help?

R387 064 is needed to continue with this translation in 2017.


Support Bible work
Give now