Technology has changed all sorts of things – and Bible translation is no exception. Some very different approaches to translation are emerging.
Although audio Bibles are increasingly common around the world, these generally come after a written version. Now, however, it’s possible to go direct to audio.
This offers huge advantages – members of the language community can participate in translation regardless of whether they can already read and write, and members of the community can access the Bible faster than if they had needed to wait for paper Bibles and learn to read first.
There is for instance some new software that runs on tablets which uses no text, just colour-coded buttons, and allows recording, review and re-recording of individual sections of Scripture. It plays a recording of an existing translation in another language, and the translator can compose and record as many drafts as they like in their own language until they’re satisfied that it’s perfect.
Another major shift is in how Scripture is distributed. Cheap smartphones are becoming remarkably widespread in most developing countries, and providing Scripture on them has proved an extremely effective strategy. It can easily be shared from phone to phone in a village setting without the use of internet, which results in rapid spreading of God’s word throughout the community. Users can also play audio, and the text of each verse is highlighted as it’s being played. For those who are learning to read, this offers valuable reinforcement of reading skills; so much so that even non-believers end up reading and listening to Scripture.
These changes are causing Bible translation software developers to learn new skills and technologies. While challenging in itself, this is even more of a challenge when they still need to keep up to date with existing ones in order to support older products which continue to be widely used.
Join us in prayer:
- Pray that many will have their lives transformed by Scripture as new technology makes it available to more and more people.
- Pray for those developing the new technology; that they will be flexible and open to change, and keep up with developments.
- Pray that the Bible translation movement will make the best possible use of new technology as it becomes available.
For more information on the specific ways technology has changed the world of Bible translation over the years, check out this article.