Why are you translating the book of Exodus?
"Let my people go!" Imagine what life in the U.S. would be without these resounding words. It's an important message for the Deaf of Japan too. This marginalized people often suffers under the oppressive yoke of others who make decisions for them, and even abuse them. But they are not forgotten. God has sent a deliverer. This story needs to be told in Japanese Sign Language. Without Exodus, there is no story of freedom from bondage and the journey to the Promised Land. There is no Passover, no blood of the slain lamb pointing us to Jesus and his shed blood, and even our understanding of Holy Communion is incomplete. There is no Moses, no giving of the Law, no Ten Commandments. Without Exodus the Covenants are incomplete and without the tabernacle and priesthood there is no understanding of God's provision for freedom from sin and access to the Almighty. Please help us get this important book of the Bible to the Japanese Deaf.
How much is the JSL Bible used?
49,500 hits on YouTube between late 2009 and early May, 2014.
Actual use was hard to track in the "old days," when everything was on video and DVD (our first 16 years). Late in 2009, though, we put all of our Bible translation onto YouTube. To date (as of May 4), we have seen 49,449 hits on Bible passages alone. Duration data indicates that the vast majority of these are people watching whole passages, not people who landed on the passage by accident and quickly moved away. This is in addition to the un-recorded and unknown number of times that people watched the Bible on video or DVD at home or in groups at church events.
Is there a universal Sign Language?
According to the World Federation of the Deaf, “Sign language is not pantomime or a simple gestural code representing the surrounding spoken language. It is not an international language, but there are universal features in sign languages. This helps to make it possible for users of different sign languages to understand one another far more quickly than users of unrelated spoken languages can. This is has been called International Sign.” More information at: http://wfdeaf.org/human-rights/crpd/sign-language
There is also an official international sign language, called Gestuno, which corresponds roughly to the official international spoken language, Esperanto. Aside from the above mentioned ability of signers to be able to communicate in ad hoc sign languages and/or quickly learn to communicate in new sign languages, both Esperanto and Gestuno suffer from the same problem--virtually nobody uses them in daily life.
What steps are involved in translating the JSL Bible?
1-Research; Using original language texts; background materials and other resources, we first gain a clear image of the message.
2-Portrayal: We portray that image in JSL (Japanese Sign Language.)
3-Accuracy check: We check the draft version for accuracy and signing quality.
4-Corrections: We make corrections, re-check and continue the process until we have a good translation.
5-Comprehension check: Deaf people from outside the church view the translation and tell us what we are actually communicating, and Christian Deaf people give input on acceptability.
6-More corrections: Based off this input, we make further changes.
7-Practice: We practice for the recording session.
8-Setup: We adjust lighting, set camera angles, and make sure everything is ready for recording day.
9-Recording: We record (and pray!) As we record, we check for errors or unnatural signing, re-recording any problematic sections.
10-Post-production: We edit the good takes together, insert the verse references, caption and other graphics, and make the DVD master copy.
11-Final check: We do one last check to ensure that signing, graphics, and DVD performance are ready.
12-Publish! The JSL Bible portion is now available on DVD, internet and smartphone.