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Wycliffe About Pray Go Give Resources
About Us
--Our Work
--Our History
Translation's Beginnings
John Wycliffe
Cameron Townsend
Kenneth Pike
--Our Beliefs
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Translation Statistics
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Our History William Cameron Townsend getting off of a plane

Wycliffe was founded in 1942 by William Cameron Townsend. A missionary to the Cakchiquel Indians of Guatemala, Townsend caught the vision for translation after Cakchiquel-speaking men expressed their concern and surprise that God did not speak their language.

Townsend resolved that every man, woman and child should be able to read God’s Word in their own language. Borrowing the name of the Reformation hero, John Wycliffe, who first translated the Bible into English, Townsend founded "Camp Wycliffe" in 1934 as a linguistics training school. By 1942, "Camp Wycliffe" had grown into two affiliate organizations, Wycliffe Bible Translators and the Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL).

Today, SIL and Wycliffe Bible Translators work together to translate Scripture, train field personnel and promote interest in translation. More than 700 translations have been completed, and hundreds more are in the process. With God’s provision, Townsend’s vision will be realized.

Learn more on the history of Bible translation.


"If it were necessary to find a single turning point symbolizing the movement of Christianity from the North to the South, a good candidate might be the founding of Wycliffe Bible Translators.... This organization...has been the most visible promoter of Bible translation in the twentieth century. The translation of the Scriptures, in turn, may be the most enduringly significant feature of the global expansion of Christianity that has been taking place since the start of the nineteenth century....[M]uch can be expected in cultures where the Bible has been rendered into the common language for the first time in the twentieth century....For these reasons and more, the founding by William Cameron Townsend (1896-1982) in 1934 of the Wycliffe Bible Translators may stand symbolically for one of the great Christian events of the age." —Dr. Mark Noll, Professor at Notre Dame University


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