Australia: Indigenous Translation


Bible Society Australia (BSA) is committed to helping Indigenous Australian’s Open The Bible in their heart languages. Collaborating with local translators, churches, and partner organisations, BSA coordinates and funds workshops and provides expertise through translation consultants. To further the work of Bible translation, BSA supports the training of local Bible translators through the Nungalinya Theological College in Darwin.

At the time of European settlement, around 250-300 languages were spoken across Australia. Today, BSA’s Translation Roadmap lists over 400, including new creoles, ‘Aboriginal’ English, clan languages and dialects. Though there is some dispute over the precise number of languages and dialects (due to varied definitions of language and dialect), the need for more Bible translation work in Australian Indigenous languages is undeniable.

From 415 languages and dialects, only one complete Bible is available. Significantly, many Indigenous groups continue to voice the need for Bible translations in their languages, requesting support in translating the Bible into their own languages.


  • 1,209 language varieties are recognised by AIATSIS
  • 3,000+ speak Pitjantjatjara as their first language, with another 5,000 speaking it as their second or third language
  • 1,500+ speak Noongar (notable rise from 443 in 2016 as per the 2021 census)
  • 400+ languages are listed on BSA’s Translation Roadmap, with 27 active and possibly 100+ potential language translation projects in the future

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