THE official website of Jehovah’s Witnesses, jw.org, just reached an unprecedented translation milestone—it now includes articles, videos, and audio content available in 1,000 languages, including 24 major and indigenous languages in the Philippines. The latest addition from the Philippines is the B’laan (Sarangani) language, which is spoken by an indigenous people in Southern Mindanao.
John Yunker, author of The Web Globalization Report Card, states: “The internet connects computers, but languages connect people. . . . The jw.org website shows great respect for those who speak languages that may not be supported by the Fortune 500. But on a larger level, jw.org is ahead of the curve. Even Facebook, with support for more than 100 languages, has a long way to go. And while the jw.org effort is volunteer-driven, it even outpaces the world’s most popular crowdsourced website, Wikipedia, with support for more than 280 languages.”
Yunker adds: “When considering whether or not to translate into a new language, commercial websites usually limit their efforts to languages that will be significantly profitable. For Jehovah’s Witnesses, though, profit is not the motive. Their goal is to translate the Bible’s message so that it is accurate, clear, and easy for readers to benefit from.”
Some 10 years ago the Department of Education (DepEd) encouraged the use of the mother tongue in educating elementary students. Researchers recognize the benefits of learning in one’s mother tongue or first language. When it comes to Bible education, Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that all peoples should be given a chance to learn God’s Word in a way that touches their hearts. The efforts of Jehovah’s Witnesses to translate into native languages are appreciated by many in our country’s indigenous communities. One of our volunteers for the Blaan community in Sarangani reports that the people are pleasantly surprised to hear a video recorded in their mother tongue. (pr)