New Technological Developments Are Rapidly Expanding the Bible's Global Reach
Sarah Martin Religious persecution, missions, Christianity around the world
- 2019 Feb 13
New developments in technology have been rapidly expanding the reach of the Gospel around the world.
The Bible translation software, “Paratext” – used by Wycliffe Bible Translators – has been recently adapted to a mobile-friendly version called “Paratext Lite.” This enables missionaries all over the world to use the technology in more remote contexts where the equipment needed to translate God’s word is harder to access or maintain, Christian Post reports.
ParaText is a leading software application used to produce, check and revise Bible translation texts. The Lite version enables teams to centralize their work and collaborate more effectively.
Not only does this technology make translation work more efficient, but also more accessible. Now, local partners and members of the native population can participate and take a lead in more of the process, changing the role of Western foreigners who come in to translate the Bible into indigenous languages.
“And that’s the exciting thing that we’re seeing is this shift over the last seven to 10 years where nationals, indigenous people are wanting to do the work themselves,” said Doug Hennum, Wycliffe’s chief innovation and information officer to Christian Post. “They are beginning to say, instead of just us helping you white Westerners do this, we want to do it; help us learn how to do it.”
Locals who speak the native heart language can translate and word-check quickly and more accurately, shortening the amount of time it takes to produce God’s word in a new tongue. Nationals can do most of the initial drafting of the text, and Wycliffe follows with consulting linguistics experts in order to produce as faithful of a translation as possible.
In the fall, Wycliffe celebrated their 1000thtranslation of the Bible, Christian Post writes. “To put this in perspective, it took 67 years to complete the first 500, and the second 500 took only 17 years. And the speed at which they are able to translate continues to grow,” said Hennum.
All over the world, increasing numbers of people engage with the Bible in more ways through the use of smartphones and mobile applications.
“YouVersion’s Bible app allows readers to interact with Scripture in more than 1,000 languages. The Deaf Bible app from Deaf Bible Society offers Bible translations in various sign languages exclusively designed for the Deaf,” wrote Mission Frontiers.
With the progression of technology and its impact on ministry potential, Hennum concludes “it’s becoming much more of a collaborative eﬀort than it ever used to be. There are very few things we’re working on that we aren’t doing with a partner. The future is not going to be one organization making this happen. It’s got to be done in partnership.”
Photo courtesy: Pixabay