A Bible that uses just 1200 different English words to tell the story from Genesis to Revelation has been released online for the first time – it is the culmination of 20 years’ work by a group of volunteers.
The EasyEnglish Bible, which includes a set of Bible commentaries, is available, free of charge, online. It has been designed for use by readers learning English as a second language, those with literacy problems or learning disabilities, and multi-lingual communities.
The task required a new subset of English, which follows forms of grammar to help express complex ideas in simpler words. The rules followed included the use of one topic per paragraph, and no passive verbs, split infinitives, idioms, or ambiguous pronouns.
The work was carried out by volunteers from the charity MissionAssist, formerly known as Wycliffe Associates UK. Many of those working on the project were retired translators and theologians.
John Williams has worked on the project from the start, and has been putting the Bible online, where it has been registering about 100,000 users a week. “People are using it for their own benefit and for their ministry,” he said. “It is being used in churches with ministries to international people, in prison ministries where literacy levels are not high, and in communities where English is still the common language in church. . . We haven’t tried to be trendy, but it is in modern, simple English.”
There are two levels of translation: the simplest uses 1200 different words; a second level, for intermediate speakers of English, uses 2800 words.
One of the first passages from the Bible to be translated was Psalm 100. The success of this led to the extension of the project to include the whole Bible, and, as each book was completed, it was uploaded on to the internet.
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SOURCE: Church Times