Dr Rocco Hough and his wife Jean Hough at the launch of the Bible for the Deaf at St George’s Cathedral in Cape Town. Picture: Armand Hough / African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town – A Bible for deaf people in South Africa, especially those using the English language and sign language, has been launched.

The Bible for the Deaf, with 2 000 pages and 200 illustrations, was developed together with the deaf, for deaf people in South Africa and across the world by the Bible Society of South Africa (BSSA), Dr Rocco Hough said.

A specialist in the area of language use for the deaf, Hough, who has been ministering to the deaf for 30 years, said this was the first English translation of the Bible done by the BSSA.

“There was a great need for a text-based Bible for the deaf in English, but unfortunately the existing Bible translations are too difficult for most deaf people.

“We have attempted to provide a Bible for 80% of deaf people in South Africa. “This Bible has been translated so that the majority of deaf people who receive their education in English will understand it,” said Hough.

He said that because Sign Language is the mother-tongue of most deaf people, a visual Bible in South African Sign Language, in particular one that is understandable across the different versions of Sign Language spoken in South Africa, was very much needed.

“A clearly defined vocabulary, as well as many footnotes and illustrations were used to explain certain concepts in the text. We believe that most deaf people will be able to read this Bible with understanding,” added Hough.

Translation of the Bible was started in 2011 with the text completed after five years, he said, during which it was tested, with all footnotes, illustrations and page layouts developed before being printed.

Hough said the BSSA had also launched a Bible for the Deaf in Afrikaans in 2008.

The Bible for the Deaf costs R200 until the end of January, after which the price will increase to R350, according to Hough, who said deaf people can buy it for R95.

It is available BSSA offices, as well as at outlets such as CNA and CUM Books within the next two weeks, Hough said.

Cape Times