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World population: More than 7 billion.

Number of languages currently spoken in the world: 6,918

Number of languages needing Bible translation work to begin: 1,919 (representing approximately 180 million people).

Personnel needed: There are ongoing needs for linguists, translation specialists, literacy specialists, trainers, project managers, computer specialists, accountants, administrators, teachers and other support roles.

On Languages
  • The SIL-sponsored Ethnologue is considered the most comprehensive listing of information about the known languages of the world.
  • 2800 of the world's 6918 languages have some or all of the Bible.
  • 2217 languages (approximately 30%) are spoken in Africa.
  • 185 languages in Africa have a complete Bible.
  • 771 languages in Africa have active language projects.
  • 776 African languages still have no language project started.
  • Of the 129 languages in Tanzania, 126 are living languages and 3 are extinct.
  • Of the 41 languages in Uganda, all are living languages but 2 are dying.

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On Bible Translation


  • Worldwide, the rate of literacy is increasing. However, due to population growth, the actual number of non-literates is not decreasing.
  • About 862 million adults cannot read.
  • Two-thirds of the about one billion non-literates worldwide are women.
  • 98% of non-literates live in developing countries.
  • Illiteracy in Africa: 50%
  • At least 25% of the population in Tanzania is illiterate (according to the UNICEF Tanzania Statistics, 2000).
  • Literate workers adapt more easily to changing job requirements.
  • Half of all the world's non-literates are minority language speakers.
  • In 26 countries, over 90% of people speak languages in which education is unavailable.
  • In least developed countries, 45% of children ages 6-11 do not attend school.
  • Countries with low literacy skills have high chronic health and safety risks.
  • In sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and the Arab States, nearly 100 million children are not in school.
  • Getting more education has a large effect on improving income levels.

Bantu Languages

  • There are 500 languages in the Bantu family of languages spoken by about 200 million Africans spread out from the equator to South Africa. Of these, approximately 14 million individuals speak one of 250 languages without the Scriptures.
  • The Bantu language family represents about 9% of the remaining Vision 2025 task (or 25% of the remaining task in Africa).
  • Bantu languages are found in seventeen countries in Africa.
  • The average size of the languages without Scriptures is 50,000-60,000 people. Some parts of these regions are difficult to access because of security concerns.
  • 44% of the Bantu population lives in Tanzania.
  • 16% of the Bantu population lives in Uganda.
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