Fri. Jun 14th, 2024

SYRACUSE – The translation produced by Jehovah’s Witnesses was the work of volunteers and can be accessed free by all deaf people.

A milestone for the deaf community in Brazil has been reached. Jehovah’s Witnesses announce that the first complete translation of the Bible in Brazilian Sign Language (Libras) is now available. The translation is also the first in Latin America and the third in the world to be fully completed in a sign language.

Work began in 2006. As the Bible books were translated from Portuguese into Libras, they were made available to the public on the website, until the last Bible book was translated this year. In total, more than 200,000 hours of work were spent to record all the videos.

“It was a joy to see the completion of this project. All translation, recording and editing work was carried out by volunteers. The result is an accurate translation that clearly conveys the Bible’s message of comfort and hope,” comments Hamilton Vieira, who for many years oversaw the Translation Department of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Brazil.

The special release event took place at the national headquarters of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Cesário Lange, State of São Paulo, and was livestreamed to meeting places across the country. A total of 36,000 people attended the event, including deaf people, family members and guests, who were surprised by the announcement.

Paula, a deaf woman from the State of Ceará, commented: “Sometimes I read the Bible in Portuguese and didn’t understand some words. I consulted a dictionary to understand the meaning… With the videos of the Bible in Libras in the JW Library app everything cleared up for me. Now I am satisfied!”

Joana, a deaf woman who lives in Goiânia, State of Goiás, similarly expressed her feelings for having the Bible translated in sign language: “I love watching the Bible in Libras. The information is very clear and valuable. It helps me a lot. I feel closer to God.”

Anyone can view or download the New World Translation of the Bible in Libras at Simply choose the language option: Brazilian Sign Language (Língua brasileira de sinais). It is also possible to access it for free through the JW Library Sign Language app, developed by Jehovah’s Witnesses so that the deaf can have autonomy when studying the Bible and other subjects in their language.

In Brazil alone, there are 10 million people with some degree of hearing loss — which represents 5% of the population. Of these, 2.7 million are completely deaf.

Efforts to include the deaf community are evident early in the history of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Brazil. Since 1982, they have held meetings in Brazilian Sign Language and in 1997 they began to produce videos in this language. They currently have 713 sign language meeting places in all regions of Brazil.

The Bible, the …….