Archive for the ‘Multimedia’ Category

Getting our game face on

Monday, October 3rd, 2016 by Camilla

Games are probably as old as time itself. So what’s new? Themes and formats of games are changing with the times, of course, and we’re also looking at a shift in attitudes regarding the value of games. Peter offers some insight into what’s going on in the area of games.

‘When was the last time you heard a lecture on the “theology of play” or a sermon about what games Jesus would play? If you are involved in children’s ministry or youth work then games and fun activities are probably a key part of your toolkit. But how much are they a standard part of the wider thinking of mission agencies and how much are they a part of the mission of God?

Play serves many functions in society not simply as a tool to bring about education and behavioural reinforcement, but as a natural way of exploring new ideas, developing skills and habits, and of relaxing and socialising.

Eminent theologians, sociologists, educationalists, psychologists, therapists, and marketing experts have written on various issues around what kinds of games are beneficial, how much screen time and outdoor play should be allowed or encouraged.

MissioMaze is the latest incarnation of one simulation idea now available as an iPhone app, in which the expectations on a Western missionary of a sending church are compared to the demands of life ‘on the field’.

Phone apps are also increasingly being used as tools for evangelism and discipleship, not because people waste time on games and so we must hook them with game-like tracts, but because people play games and games have value.

Gamification is a relatively new term that has become a multi-billion dollar industry. It’s basically the idea of using game elements in non-game environments. For game elements think points, badges, leaderboards, onboarding, leveling up, boss-fights, or simply the theme tune of a TV quiz show.

For non-game environments think work, exercise, dieting, housework, or Bible study. A couple of years ago the YouVersion Bible app started awarding virtual badges to people for finishing a study series. The Go-Tandem site and app is designed to help you in your spiritual development with a series of nudges and game-like elements used to track your progress.’

This story is adapted from a post by Peter Brassington which originally featured on Redcliffe’s Bible and Mission blog. Check out even more great stuff on digital engagement and games on Peter’s own blog.

Where faith comes by hearing: making audio Scriptures in Tanzania

Monday, January 25th, 2016 by Nick

The majority of people in the world belong to oral cultures. For them, faith literally comes by hearing. With this in mind, one of the tools we use to share Scripture with these communities is audio recordings of Bible stories! So how does Scripture go from words on paper to audio?

Jo Clifford shares a great step-by-step account of one of the many trips she takes to record Scripture, this time to Mpanda in Tanzania. From invitation to hanging blankets over wooden frames, this is a brilliant window into the world of Scripture audio recording:

‘I regularly receive requests from various language projects to do audio recordings of Scripture. A couple of months before a trip I need to prepare the script of the audio recording – taking the Scripture text and dividing it up into the different characters (narrator, Ruth, Boaz, Jonah etc). Then copies of the parts are given to the different people who have agreed to read for us, so they have time to practice. I discuss with those hosting the recording work what location might be best. The preference is for somewhere quiet, with power if possible (otherwise a generator is necessary to run the equipment). I also ask if there are blankets available for soundproofing the studio structure as well as some wood to make the frame. I bring the rest of my recording equipment.

When I am recording I rely on others to help me. I explain the recording process to the person who has come to read the part. Before we start recording I always get people’s consent to use their voice.

JoC recording3

Jo at work

I usually ask for at least one translator of the language being recorded to be present to follow the reading and make sure words are read correctly. I have the text so I can generally follow along, but I don’t know the languages and some languages incorporate tone to express meaning.

Before a reader begins, I often paint a picture of the context to help them think about what they are reading. To get the most realistic recording, I often ask if there is special way of saying something in their culture which signals for instance an attitude of prayer or of showing fear or celebration.

At the time of recording I will do a rough edit of each clip. The same evening I will go through all that has been recorded that day and edit each clip, taking out breaths, clicks from lips smacking together and any extra space between phrases and sentences.

JoC recording2

Editing audio recordings

[Then] I will start to put all the clips together to make each chapter and will add the sound effects.  I will play it to the translators who speak the language to check all the text is correct, that they like the sound effects and that I haven’t edited something out by mistake!

When the translators are happy with the audio, then I can produce the MP3 tracks which can be made into CDs, or be put onto a mobile phone, uploaded onto the language website and put onto the language Scripture app.’

Interested in finding out more about the work of Wycliffe and how you can be involved? Come along to one of our one day events First Steps!

Deditos: finger puppet Bible stories

Monday, December 21st, 2015 by Camilla

The concept is nothing short of brilliant: short Bible story videos using finger puppets to teach kids everywhere about Jesus.

deditos pictureThe Deditos series, made by Viña studios in Guatemala, uses the power of visual media to reach people with biblical truth in the languages and forms they understand best.

The team build elaborate sets to accurately portray Bible stories, using simple, local materials such as sand from a local riverbed, fabric and sawdust. With the backdrop of simple materials and tiny film sets, these finger puppets and voice actors make Bible stories come alive, and communicate biblical truths in a visual way that impacts the hearts of kids around the world. The best part is that the episodes can be dubbed into any language.

The videos have seen an overwhelming response since the original pilot project telling the story of David and Goliath in 2004. Episodes have been dubbed from Spanish into 22 other languages so far, including Kaqchikel. Kaqchikel is a language very close to Wycliffe’s heart, as a Kaqchikel man’s question about why God couldn’t speak his language led to the founding of Wycliffe Bible Translators by William Cameron Townsend.

Learn more about Viña and Deditos, or check out the Deditos website, where you can watch episodes of the entertaining show for yourself, see a video that tells you more about dubbing Deditos into other languages, and make a donation to their work.

An app with eternal significance

Monday, December 7th, 2015 by Nick

The progression of technology has opened the door to a great many things. Music in your pocket? No problem. Real-time video conversations with friends in other parts of the world from the palm of your hand? Sure. Technology does of course offer us more than just convenience – including vital progressions within medicine, finance, aid…the list goes on.

MobilephoneTech is also opening doors for accessing God’s word throughout the world. With the widespread availability of smartphones and tablets, it’s easier than ever to access Scripture. (I suspect that there is a very high likelihood that the following applies to many of us: Smartphone = Bible app).

For many, this may also be the safest way to engage with God’s word. Mobile devices have opened up opportunities for people to read and engage with Scripture in their own language where it might otherwise be very difficult to do so, for instance because of persecution. This alone is amazing.

Digital platforms are creating opportunities for Christians everywhere to grow in their walk with Christ! One of the places exciting new opportunities are opening up is Tanzania. Through the Google Play store, some of the language groups in Tanzania now have their own Bible app, available on Android devices, where they can access the books of the Bible as they become available in their languages. You can check them out and listen to the sound of the local languages by downloading the ‘Biblia katika Kinyakyusa’ app on Google Play.

As you may have guessed though, it’s only through the expertise and dedication of people creating these apps and recording these Scriptures along with translators that this is possible. If you’d like to know more and find out how you can be involved, check out the varied roles and opportunities we have within Wycliffe.

Standing shoulder to shoulder

Friday, October 30th, 2015 by Camilla

What are you up to tomorrow? How about joining an online event and standing with Christians around the world to make a difference through prayer?

Tomorrow, 31st October, at 6pm GMT, the International Conference on Missions is offering you a fantastic opportunity. You can be part of a global initiative and stand with Christians from all around the world, to pray for the fulfilment of the great commission.

This is a great way to stand shoulder to shoulder with Christians around the world and gain a truly big perspective on how great God’s kingdom really is. You can join in on your own or grab some friends and have your own mini-event.

To take part in this real time, live event, all you need is a computer or tablet and an internet connection and to tune in at 6pm GMT to www.globalprayercast.com. This video will tell you more:

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If you can’t see the video, click here or check out the information and register at www.globalprayercast.com.

What does Avatar have to do with Bible translation?

Monday, August 31st, 2015 by Camilla

Remember the film Avatar from 2009? With the blue people? Avatar made a lot of use of motion capture filming techniques, and represented a number of breakthroughs in the filmmaking industry.

WordSign, a software program that employs the same type of technology used to make Avatar, is now being developed by SIL* and will be used to create powerful visual Bibles in sign languages around the world.

There are over 400 sign languages worldwide, and to date there is not a single complete sign language Bible. Why do the Deaf need visual Bibles? Can’t they just read the Bible?

‘…Deaf sign language [the heart language of the Deaf] is a three dimensional language and can’t be written down on a flat piece of paper. In fact, for a Deaf person to look at that flat piece of paper, the words don’t mean much to them, but also the method of delivery is not the way they would learn.’ Mike Buus, President of DOOR*

The WordSign project has huge potential when it comes to reaching the Deaf with the gospel, allowing sign language to be imprinted onto lifelike avatars and visual Bibles to be watched on phones and tablets. Get a taste of what the visual Bibles will look like.

This technology will also make it much easier for different signers to work on sign language translations over time. In the past, sign language translation projects have been tied to one signer and vulnerable to his/her personal circumstances, stalling or going back to square one if he/she can no longer participate in the project for whatever reason.

The WordSign project means different signers can share the work, making long-term projects, corrections and revisions easy and increasing flexibility no end. The use of an avatar also means the signers’ identities will be protected in countries where Christians are persecuted. The WordSign project will also make the production of a translation cheaper and require less use of technology experts. It’s good news all round!

Want to know more? Check out this short video on the need for sign language Bible translation.

*SIL is Wycliffe’s primary partner.

*DOOR International‘s vision is to bring God’s word and biblical Christian fellowship to Deaf communities worldwide.

This post is adapted from a story by Wycliffe Australia.

Keeping pace with technological development

Friday, May 1st, 2015 by Jo Johnson

We live in a digital age. Increasingly technological development is becoming vital, and not just useful, to the efficient and timely translation and distribution of Scripture. Software development is needed to facilitate the work of linguists and translators. Mobile phone apps and memory cards, websites and audio recorders give audio and visual access to translated Scripture, all of which are so important in sensitive areas and oral cultures.

Scripture appA key group of people who lead language technology development recently met:

‘We  spent a few days in meetings together to look carefully at the ways we do software development and how we prioritise our efforts. We’re terribly short-staffed, and cannot possibly meet all needs. We certainly don’t want to overburden key team members.

Please pray for the Father to provide a significant increase in our full-time software development staff. In particular, we need experienced web developers (php, javascript, responsive design), UX experts, mobile developers (both for apps and the Android core), and communications/support people. Pray also that we would understand the limits of what we can offer to do.’

Please join us in praying for the language technology development team:

  • Pray for the leaders to have wisdom to know what areas to focus their limited resources on.
  • Pray that God will give strength to persevere and grace not to become overwhelmed.
  • Ask God to send the team several people gifted with the right skills for the work and the right passion and vision to be used to bring God’s kingdom through technology development.

Find out more about serving God and using your IT skills at the same time.

When the spoken word is more powerful

Friday, January 23rd, 2015 by Jo Johnson

Nearly 70% of people in the world are from oral cultures. Even when they can read and write they often prefer to learn through oral means. This means, for Bible translation, that we must find appropriate non-print formats in which to present God’s word.

A packed audience for a showing of the Bambalang Luke film.

A packed audience for a showing of the Bambalang Luke film.

One way is through the Luke film, a video version of Luke’s gospel similar to the Jesus Film. For just over a year the Bambalang translation team in Cameroon have been showing the Luke Film. It’s in great demand and in spite of it being four hours long people will watch it in its entirety, often standing the whole time. Sometimes the pastors show two hours one night, two the next. People are not happy that they have to wait, but they return and many others join them the second night.

Pastor Pius, one of the Bambalang translation team, tells of one showing:

‘..many followers of another religion came there including one of their leaders, who brought his own seat. One of the teachers in the Arabic school, Mr. A., said “Truly, you have shown that God is the God of Bambalang people speaking their language…. Many people will turn to God in Bambalang.”’

David Chufonmui of the Bamunka Translation team has been helping to show the Luke film. He shares about the enthusiasm which is shown by those who see it:

‘In one place, an older man who is a strong follower of traditional religion, sat captivated and urged the young people around him to be quiet and listen. But after a while he did not need to, as the level of interest was such that the whole gathering naturally became silent.

In another place, rain fell and the film had to be shown indoors. The place became so packed that no-one could enter so two boys climbed the wall of the house and removed mud blocks from the top, squeezing through between the roof and the wall and dropping down inside to get a view of the film!’

Thank God for the impact that the Luke Film is having in Cameroon and pray:

  • For good follow-up by churches for those who decide to follow Christ as a result of the showings.
  • For the interest to be carried across to an interest in the written Scriptures and thus having an impact on listening groups and Bible studies.
  • For resources to be available for the Luke film to be dubbed in the five other languages where translation is ongoing as soon as the text is approved.

Find out other ways non-print versions of Scripture are impacting Cameroonian communities.

Praying on the Frontline

Friday, October 31st, 2014 by Jo Johnson

8 November 2014 is a day to stand together in prayer with teams involved in Bible translation and with those who still don’t have the Bible in a language they understand. It’s the day when we are holding Frontline Prayer Live in Princes Risborough and Edinburgh.

Hear about everyday heroes of Bible translation who are translating the Bible in very difficult situations and make a difference by praying. This video is just a taster of what you will see and pray about on the day.

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Find out more about Frontline Prayer Live in Princes Risborough and Edinburgh on 8th November or Iver on 22nd November.

Can’t make it on the day?You can download all the modules to use with your church or small group.

Urgently needed: teams

Thursday, August 14th, 2014 by Hannah

Translators, accountants, managers, teachers, computer specialists, web developers, journalists, artists, pilots, nurses, language surveyors, writers, administrators, musicians, anthropologists, mechanics, carpenters, photographers and communicators…

These are just some of the roles Wycliffe needs to fill in order to translate the Bible alongside the language communities who still don’t have access to God’s word.

This video, from Wycliffe USA, explains how they all fit together.

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 ‘They need more than just Bible translators. They need teams. And those teams need you.’

If you are interested in exploring how you could use the skills you already have to serve God’s people all around the world, get in touch and we can explore together!