South Pacific: Vanuatu Translation


This project seeks to reach all the peoples of Vanuatu with God’s word, through the translation and provision of the Bible. The project is undertaking four new translations of the New Testament, a revision of two Scriptures and the digitisation of three Bible translations.

Between 80 and 90 percent of the residents of Vanuatu (approx. 234,000 people), belong to the Christian faith, but many do not have Scriptures in their own language and find it hard to read other languages. The Republic of Vanuatu has the world’s highest linguistic density per capita — that is, it has the most number of languages with the smallest population. For a population of about 300,000 people, Vanuatu is home to 138 indigenous Oceanic languages, with 70 spoken languages. There are over one hundred local languages spread over the archipelago. It currently shows an average of about 1,760 speakers for each indigenous language.

Although English, French, and local trade languages are generally understood, they are not fully adequate for many people’s spiritual and worship experiences. Research and proven testimonies from communities have confirmed that the reading of Scriptures in one’s own dialect or language during church worship and gatherings contributes immensely to people’s understanding of the Scriptures.

The need to communicate God’s word through the various languages/dialects of this country is great although the number of speakers of each language may be relatively small.


  • 303,009 people in Vanuatu
  • 80-90% (approx. 234,000 people) belong to the Christian faith
  • Home to 138 indigenous Oceanic languages
  • Literacy rate in Vanuatu is over 80% as from 2018

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