Eleven communities received their first full Bible in their language last year and six received the New Testament for the first time while 11 more have their first or additional portions of Scripture translated into their language, according to the United Bible Societies.

TRANSLATION PROGRESS: United Bible Societies says 11 communities around the world received their first full Bible in their language for the first time in 2015. PICTURE: Pedro Simao/www.freeimages.com

Among those communities which have a complete Bible for the first time at the end of 2015 was that of the Kim people of Chad, the Sidama people of Ethiopia, the Mentawai people of Indonesia, the Bomu people of Mali and the Yupik people of the United States as well as people groups in Myanmar, Vietnam, Uganda, Seychelles and Togo/Ghana.

In its annual Global Scripture Access Report, United Bible Societies said that during 2015, Bible societies around the world contributed to the completion of translations - whether a complete Bible or portion of Scripture - in 50 languages, spoken by almost 160 million people. Of those, almost 33 million were given a translation - again, whether of a complete Bible or a portion of Scripture - for the first time.

As of the end of 2015, the full Bible is now available in 563 languages spoken by almost 5.1 billion people while New Testaments are available in a further 1,334 languages spoken by 638 million people.

This leaves 281 million people with only some of the Bible translated into their language and a further 497 million people with no Scriptures translated into their native tongues.

The United Bible Societies said "significant progress" is also being made in translating the Bible into sign languages for the deaf and into Braille for the blind. Complete Braille editions were available for the first time in the Sri Lankan language of Sinhala for the first time last year.

Alexander M Schweitzer, head of global Bible translation at the United Bible Societies, said it was encouraging to see Bible societies involved in completing translations in no fewer than 50 languages spoken by nearly 160 million people in 2015 and said he took "special joy" in the progress being made in translating the Bible into Braille and sign language.

"This progress inspires us to aim even higher so that the lives of many more individuals and communities are enriched by the transforming power of God's Word."

United Bible Societies also reported that of the 100 full Bibles which, in 2013, it identified could be translated by the end of 2015, 90 had completed the translation stage, 53 were published and 37 were in pro-production or printing. Bible societies around the world are currently working on more than 400 translation projects.

United Bible Societies is a global network of Bible societies working in more than 200 countries and territories around the world.

~ www.unitedbiblesocieties.org