What is a Sign Language Bible and How is it Translated? (Part 1)

The new Deaf Bible App, recently released, provides Scripture in dozens of sign languages! You may be asking, “What is a sign language Bible?” or “How are sign language Bibles translated?” We invite you to go behind the scenes in this two-part blog series to discover some interesting facts about sign language Bibles.

A sign language Bible is God’s Word translated from either a written or spoken form into a specific sign language used within a Deaf community. This is accomplished by following established translation principles and video recording the sign language Bible translation. A sign language Bible is a video Bible. Seeing God’s Word come alive in their visual language offers Deaf people and their communities the opportunity to know God intimately.

Sign language Bibles typically follow two styles, Chronological Bible Translation (CBT) and Book by Book Translation (BBB). CBT structures Bible content by stories, such as the Creation Story, while BBB is structured by traditional chapters and verses. Neither CBT nor BBB are translated word for word, because the structure of a sign language is different from a written or spoken language.

The sign language Bible translation process follows a similar methodology as a written language translation—only the rewrites and drafts are reshoots, as video is the medium for capturing the

visual language of the Deaf. Join us for part two to learn about what it takes to translate the Bible into sign language.

Sign Language Bible

Photo courtesy of Deaf Missions