Australia: Auslan Bible translation


Overview


The Auslan Bible project is working on Bible translation for people in the Australian Deaf community, Opening The Bible to those who can’t hear it

 

The Australia Census report indicates that just over 16,000 people use Auslan in Australia. This number includes both first language and second language users.

Auslan is the language of the Australian Deaf community, characterised by the use of hands, bodies, and facial expressions to convey meaning. It is a distinct visual language with its own grammar and vocabulary, not merely a representation of English through signs. The term ‘Auslan,’ a blend of the words ‘Australian Sign Language,’ was coined by Trevor Johnston in the 1980s, though the language itself has older roots, evolving from British Sign Language (BSL).

Auslan is not only an important language for Deaf people to be able to communicate with one another, it is also important as it has the potential for bridging gaps in communication and social interaction between deaf and hearing individuals. When an entire community embraces and uses Auslan, it can foster an environment where both Deaf and hearing have an equal voice and a means of communication through which they can easily connect with others.

To date, portions of the Old and New Testaments have been translated into Auslan, however there is much of the Bible yet to be translated, and there is a notable lack of Scripture engagement resources in Auslan, particularly for children and young adults.

Statistics:

  • More than 16,000 people in Australia use Auslan at home (2021 Australian census) 
  • Around 4,000 reported Auslan users in each state of QLD, VIC, & NSW
  • <2,000 reported Auslan users in SA & WA
  • 100-400 reported Auslan users in NT, ACT & TAS

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