Las Vegas

First American Sign Language Bible launched, Deaf community reacts to translation milestone

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — In a labor of affection, practically 100 volunteers labored for 15 years to produce the world’s first full Bible translation into American Sign Language (ASL).

The closing e-book of the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures in ASL was launched on February 15, 2020, throughout a dedication program for a brand new translation office in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

“For us, it’s been a 15-year journey, and we can finally say it’s complete,” mentioned Jeremy Mallory with the ASL Remote Translation Office.

There have already been 41 million particular person chapter downloads of this model of the Bible, as many depend on their religion to deal with uncertainty, anxiousness and loss amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Robert J. Hendriks III, U.S. Spokesman for Jehovah’s Witnesses tells 8 News Now that this translation effort has affected extra than simply Jehovah’s Witnesses. He identified that within the United States, those that use ASL to talk solely quantity to about 10,000 in congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Of these folks, solely round 2,500 of them are literally deaf. The relaxation are those that help these congregations as volunteer lecturers of the Bible in ASL.

“I have everything at my fingertips,” signed Lilli’Ann Ibanez, a deaf girl who attends an indication language congregation in Las Vegas.

This newly launched ASL Bible translation introduced tears to the eyes of 1 reader.

“I didn’t feel goose bumps when I read the Bible in English, but the moment I started watching the Bible in sign language, I couldn’t help but shed tears,” shared Isias Eaton, who attended this system in Florida when the ASL Bible translation announcement was made.


“It was the first time in history, the Deaf community, those who read and spoke ASL, had a complete Bible available to them in any community, anywhere on the globe,” mentioned Hendriks, of the translation of all 66 books of the Bible.

The translation work started with the discharge of DVDs, which was cumbersome, tough to navigate for the top person and would find yourself being tough to use.

As time went on, Hendriks says they had been ready to put the translation on-line and on a smartphone app, “putting this powerful translation in the palms of people’s hands.”

JW.ORG, Man watching ASL Bible on pill

Hendriks shared the spiritual group’s purpose was not simply to translate this complicated and complex language actually, however to precisely translate ideas, after which transmit it in video.


There are usually three folks on a translation workforce, in accordance to the distant translation office (RTO).

One individual focuses on producing translation concepts, the second on the accuracy of the translation, and the third watches intently to make sure the interpretation is pure and straightforward to perceive.

“When they did a translation of a text that was so literal that it could only be understood, literally, it was often very illogical,” mentioned Nicholas Ahladis with translation providers of Jehovah’s Witnesses. “And it often meant that the sign language translation team had to go back to the drawing board and come up with a revised text that would be more understandable.”

ASL Bible Team, JW.ORG

After the textual content is analyzed in English, Hendriks says RTO members maintain a project meeting to focus on translation challenges to guarantee everyone seems to be on the identical web page with the that means of a textual content earlier than the translation filming begins.

Their translation system is extra thought-for-thought, reasonably than word-for-word, in accordance to Geoffrey Jackson with the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

The ASL Bible Team of Jehovah’s Witnesses had been the primary to use a dwell evaluation panel for Bible translation to produce a high-quality product.

“His image of what the Bible is trying to say to us should be the same as a person reading the Bible in English or any other language,” defined Bobby Dunbar with Translation Services of Jehovah’s Witnesses in New York.

ASL Bible Team, JW.ORG

The translation workforce labored exhausting to guarantee no ideas had been lacking or added of their translation of the New World Translation Bible from English textual content to ASL video.

“If that thought can be conveyed in an accurate way, in a meaningful way, that’s what it’s all about,” added Jackson.


“When it comes to reading the Bible, watching it in ASL, I have it downloaded in an app on my phone and tablet so I can use it for study,” Ibanez shared.

Tory and Jamie Jaramillo, a listening to couple, work as licensed signal language interpreters in Las Vegas, Nevada. Jamie is the listening to daughter of two deaf mother and father, and English is her second language.

“As a child of two deaf adults, I identify linguistically and culturally with the deaf community,” Jamie mentioned. “What I choose to do for my secular work is I am an American Sign Language interpreter,” she added.

Jamie Jaramillo, Sign-language interpreter J, CI & CT, NIC Master

As a Jehovah’s Witnesses, Jamie chooses to volunteer her time educating the Bible. She says through the years, it has been very tough due to a scarcity of entry to the whole Bible in ASL video.

“Written form doesn’t reach their hearts in the same way as watching it,” mentioned Jamie.

“As a Sign Language interpreter here in Nevada, I work very hard to try and give an accurate interpretation, but interpreting is kind of like art. You’re doing it without having information beforehand, versus the effort that goes into a translation, like the New World Translation [Bible],” Tory defined.

Tory Jaramillo, Sign Language Interpreter BA,CI & CT

With the pandemic dragging on, Jamie says the isolation has confirmed extra extreme for members of the Deaf community. She has seen that the psychological and emotional well being of her college students has been impacted.

“The Bible provided for the deaf could not have come at a better time,” Tory added.

Richard and Sari Cardona are listening to mother and father who realized signal language and nearly attend ASL spiritual conferences to help their deaf son.

Spanish is their first language, however the household determined to transfer to an ASL congregation to be taught the language and assist their son.

Richard Cardona Sr. moved his household to Las Vegas and joined an American Sign Language Christian Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses to train his deaf son in regards to the Bible

“As the father of a deaf son and as immigrants, when we moved here to the United States, it was very difficult,” Richard mentioned. “In 2019, we moved here to the city of Las Vegas and received great support.”

“When parents who are not deaf find out that they have a deaf child, this can be very unexpected, and sometimes even frustrating. We know that this has an influence on the child’s emotional and social development,” Sari shared. “As a mom I would ask myself, ‘How can I teach my son the truths from the Bible?’ But God never forgets anyone, regardless of his disability.”

Sari Cardona realized sign-language to higher talk along with her deaf son

“Now, when we all three sit down to study the Bible, we can understand the questions our son asks us, and I feel a direct connection with my son,” Sari mentioned.

8-year-old Richard Cardona signing his ideas on the discharge of the whole Bible in ASL.

“I am so happy…because Jehovah God has given me the Bible in ASL, which is sign language, to help me understand,” signed Richard Cardona Jr.


Many within the Deaf community expressed disappointment concerning the receiving correct and well timed data within the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some say they felt like an afterthought with messaging that might have an effect on their lives — on the very least, their psychological well being.

With pandemic anxiousness a rising concern, fast supply of healthcare data may scale back the danger of contracting or transmitting a life-threatening illness. For the Deaf community, the added problem of typically not having an indication language interpreter or being unable to learn lips due to mandated mask-wearing for public security elevated that risk.

With a deal with offering advocates for the Deaf community, the Nevada Commission for Persons Who Are Deaf and Hard of Hearing or Speech Impaired was created in 2020 throughout the Office of the Governor in Nevada. Its mission is to guarantee Nevadans have equal and well timed entry to resources, providers, and alternatives within the community.

According to the state web site, the goal of the Deaf Commission is to present well timed entry to data, efficient communication, schooling, and providers that promote selection and independence for Nevada residents who’re deaf, exhausting of listening to or have speech disabilities, and the households and professionals who help them.

When requested how the large enterprise of translating your entire Bible into ASL may gain advantage the Deaf community, Maureen Fradianni, a member of the fee mentioned, “That’s beautiful…it is great. It has an empowering affect to have that access to communication. I can say that…even though our beliefs are different, I applaud what they [Jehovah’s Witnesses] have done.”

Amid the pandemic, Fradianni commented on the significance of digital resources in serving to the Deaf community be included in public dialog, though in-person Sign Language interpreters are most well-liked by many.

“That’s wonderful,” she mentioned, concerning the translation of the ASL Bible for the Deaf community by the ASL Bible Team of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Before her retirement, Fradianni labored for eight years with an company referred to as the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Advocacy Resource Center. That company later turned The Deaf Center of Nevada. The company has since closed and stopped offering providers. She says its closure in December 2020 took a toll on the Deaf community as a result of the providers they had been accustomed to had been not supplied.

According to Fradianni, the Aging and Disability Services Division is quickly taking on these providers till July 1.

“I find that we are using these digital resources even more now, and I would assume that after the pandemic, we’re going to be using them even more than we did before,” she added, as she expressed hopes for the return of in-person occasions due to the attention pressure and fatigue ensuing from the prolonged use of digital occasions throughout the pandemic.

With the latest replace from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on mask-wearing pointers for these totally vaccinated, hope appears to be on the horizon.

Fradianni additionally shared data on a grant alternative accessible for applications and providers for the Deaf community by means of the Notices of Funding Opportunities (NOFO) web site. This grant contains providers for folks of deaf and exhausting of listening to youngsters. The deadline to apply is June 12.

The fee held a meeting on May 13, the place members mentioned what extra might be accomplished for the Deaf community.


While different organizations have labored to full the ASL Bible, the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures has continued their work and have already translated the Bible into an extra 100 signal languages, making it accessible to deaf and exhausting of listening to communities around the globe.

The translation, publishing and printing work of Jehovah’s Witnesses is supported by voluntary donations.

“The ASL Bible Project set a pattern for other sign languages,” explains Nicholas Ahladis, who helps coordinate translation providers on the world headquarters facility in Warwick, New York.

Jehovah’s Witnesses say they won’t cease translating the Bible till everybody can learn the Bible in “the language of their heart.”


To be taught extra in regards to the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures in American Sign Language (ASL) please visit this website.

Screenshot from ASL Bible languages accessible in entire or partly on JW.ORG

ASL movies on the subject of dealing with anxiousness throughout the pandemic: 

To view the ASL Bible, visit, click on on the language icon on the high middle of the web site web page, verify the “Display Only Sign Languages” icon and choose the specified signal language translation.

Screenshot from ASL Bible on JW.ORG

When viewing the ASL Bible, you too can allow “show text” to show captions as you watch the web bible.

8 News Now extends a particular thanks to Peter Roman of American Sign Language Communication ( for offering ASL translation for this text’s interview with the Deaf Commission.

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