Impacting Deaf communities for Christ by providing access to Scripture in sign language has always been a vision for Deaf Bible Society. When that vision emphatically affects the profession of interpreting, and moves the interpreter, it adds another layer.
Professional interpreters play an intricate role in bridging the language barrier between hearing and Deaf people. Churches will often provide interpreters to accommodate Deaf congregants. However, church jargon is very complex and requires Biblical and denominational knowledge. In preparation of the message, Christian terms and concepts associated with sign language need to be understood and practiced before any interpretation begins. But religious signed resources are limited and can be unreliable.
Because content to the American Sign Language Bible is made accessible to the public, interpreters can implement the signed components into their work, improving upon the quality of the interpretation. They can trust and depend on the finished, complex, translated passages, knowing that they have passed a process of authorized standardization.
Additionally, interpreters and Deaf people in America have access to a complete New Testament. While Old Testament translation continues, many portions of Scripture are complete and readily available.
One interpreter comments that while she finds reading Scripture to be challenging at times, she was moved to tears while watching the book of Mark in American Sign Language. She could see Christ so clearly displaying His beauty and compassion to His people through the mighty miracles and healings. What impacted her most was the powerful expressions exhibited through the signed Scripture. The American Sign Language Bible radically changed her thought process. It caused her to think deeply about the lives which were permanently transformed by encountering Jesus. It altered the way that she interpreted the Scriptures to the Deaf audience.
We know that Deaf people are impacted by God’s Word when Scripture is in the heart language. Interpreters, likewise, are influenced by the signed Scripture in a very significant way.
“How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!” Psalm 133:1