In October 2009, the International Committee for the Sign Language Bible Translation was in Kuala Lumpur to share their visions, experiences and the need for bible translation in sign languages with the Malaysian Christian Deaf Community. This drew favourable responses and had inspired and challenged Deaf Christians to look into the need of Bible Translation for the Malaysian Deaf.
On 29 November 2009, the BIM Bible Translation Committee was established for the purpose of working towards translating the written Bible into Bahasa Isyarat Malaysia (BIM), in video format, as well as to promote the use of BIM as a true language. This long term project will need the support and cooperation of the Malaysian Christian community, both Deaf and hearing, including local churches, Christian organizations and well-wishers. On March 2013, BIMBT embarked on a full time basis.
Why the NEED for BIMBT?
Many people initially do not comprehend why Deaf people would need a Bible in sign languge. They thought if one could read in English, one would also be able to decipher the words and meanings in the written Bible. However, many Deaf Christians in Malaysia have problems grasping the meanings in the Bible because of low educational level and reading level in addition to the fact that the Scripture is not in their native language. By having the Bible translated into Bahasa Isyarat Malaysia (BIM), the Deaf will be able to "read" and understand God's words in their own language.
During church services, a hearing Sign Language Interpreter is usually engaged to interpet the sermons into BIM for the Deaf Congregation. Sometimes, a Deaf Interpreter is required to relay from the hearing Interpreter into a more natural BIM so that the Deaf could better sense of it. By having a Bible and biblical resources in BIM, the Deaf will soon have their own pastors and preaches to share and deliver sermons in their native languages.
Sign Language, a facet of cultural affinity amongst the Deaf Community is an important source of strength, stability and identity for the community.