Technology Accelerates Translation
1. The Lightstream Pocket
Developed by Renew World Outreach, the Lightstream Pocket is a mobile distribution center that allows gospel media to be downloaded on cell phones in places where internet is limited, restricted, or nonexistent.
Seed Company used the Pocket during the Alis I Ron New Testament dedication Saturday, October 26, 2019, in Nigeria. Immediately following the ceremony, large groups gathered outside the church doors in anticipation of holding God’s Word in their hands. Although the Pocket manages 15 connections at a time, young guards who had already received the apps enthusiastically shared them with those waiting. Each user received a Bible storybook and a hymnal.
The Alis I Ron language represents over 400,000 speakers. Having their mother tongue represented in the format they use most raises the perceived value of the Alis I Ron language.
2. The Village Radio
People in Nigeria can buy a village radio in the market for the equivalent of five US dollars. These radios not only have AM/FM capabilities but also have slots for micro SD cards and USB sticks to play MP3 files. A Nigerian translation team recorded Scripture portions, exported an MP3, put it on an SD card, and inserted it into the village radio.
Mary Ekpe, a local believer, had the opportunity to hear Scripture in her heart language for the very first time. As she listened to the radio, a big smile spread across her face. She said, “This is amazing!” She excitedly pointed to her friend and said, “You have to hear this!”
Mary then fell prostrate outside of her church with the radio in front of her, thanking God that she could finally hear His Word in her mother tongue. The translators gave Mary the radio, and she begged them to record more Scriptures.
Later they learned Mary was going to the town square, sitting on the curb, and playing all of the Scripture portions the team had translated. Day after day, she drew crowds of people who came to listen to Scripture in their language. She returned again and again to the team, asking for more.
Field Technology Specialist Darcie Drymon said, “It’s the first time the community realized the translation team was doing any work. They knew the team had some kind of support from westerners, but once they received audio Scripture and gave it to the community, listeners became very inspired.”
Today, the community is contributing 30 percent of the budget for this project.
3. Render’s Small Chunk Editing Feature
Last summer, Render, a widely used translation software, released an editing tool that prevents Oral Bible Translation (OBT) teams from unnecessarily re-recording entire passages when only one small section needs to be corrected. With this new audio slicing tool, a team can take out a segment as short as ten seconds, re-record it, and insert it back into the passage.
OBT trainer Nathan Richey believes this feature—available at the final consultant checking and revision stages—is extremely beneficial for teams that are close to the finish line. Mistakes happen, and up until now, they haven’t been easy to fix.
“When the Skala team was recording a chapter in Ruth, the last word they needed to record was ‘Ruth,’” Nathan remembers. “They had already been recording for over an hour, so they were tired. Only one person’s voice can be used for the recording of a whole passage. Unfortunately, instead of the speaker saying ‘Ruth,’ she said ‘Rachel.’ The whole team was so defeated. They had to start all over.”
The chance for mistakes is even greater when you consider that passages in an oral culture are typically memorized and recited over and over again to prepare for a recording. Where once it might have taken a whole day to produce a perfect two-minute recording, now a team can correct small mistakes easily and move on to the next passage. “It saves a ton of time and frustration for the team,” Nathan says.
4. A Dream of “Talking Books”
IN 2011, when. Charles Anyim joined CAPRO Ministries—an indigenous, interdenominational, cross-cultural missions agency in Nigeria—they asked what he brought to the organization.
“God wants me to do talking Bibles … talking books for our field,” he said, “for more than 36 language groups.”
Eight years in the making, Charles’ vision is now a reality. Utilizing the Scripture App Builder (SAB) and another tool known as Bloom, both developed by SIL International, Seed Company and CAPRO provided him with valuable training. Now he’s able to share the gospel and deliver what God put in his heart.
“This training has made my dream come true!” Charles explains.
The app combines audio and written Scripture. As the user listens, the spoken text is simultaneously highlighted. This tool can be used for literacy as well as Scripture distribution, thus broadening people’s ability to engage with God’s Word on their own.
5. Hollywood, Morocco, and LUMO
LUMO is the producer of Hollywood-quality movies of the four Gospels that change the way people engage with God’s Word. To make the videos even more realistic, LUMO filmed onsite in Morocco, using Middle Eastern actors. Crews plan to shoot additional footage that gives a panoramic view of the Old Testament. Those scenes will help some viewers understand biblical story elements—boats, the sea, temples—that may not exist in their culture.
Currently available in more than 200 languages, LUMO videos are opening doors to heart language Scripture across the globe. Our partner organization, Faith Comes By Hearing (FCBH), reports that more than 125 Bible translation partners are using or planning to use these videos. The exciting visual content facilitates group discussion and discipleship.
LUMO movies offer the ability to incorporate audio versions of translated Scripture without the need for script translation, voice actor training, and dubbing. According to John Lamphear, Seed Company’s manager of field technology, “The LUMO gospel films are created with a voiceover in the mother tongue, instead of lip-syncing, so it’s easier to produce. We are able to engage language communities more quickly, and more effectively.”