Developing Software for Bible Translation
I was far from fluent in their language, and their discussions delved into topics foreign to me. But spending a week with them made me appreciate their creativity and courage more than ever. Some sixty men, and a few women, gathered at the JAARS Center in late September 2011 to share their projects, discuss needs, and seek God for the future of software development for Bible translation.
People gifted in computer skills, such as these software developers and other team members, are sometimes classed as quiet and introverted, but I did not find them so. One by one they addressed their colleagues, talking animatedly and often with humor about the special software they were developing and how it would be used to accomplish Bible translation, and related projects, faster and easier.
And when this group worshiped before the day’s packed schedule began, their strong, expressive voices blessed me as much as any practiced choir. They praised God for his creativity—and asked for gifts of creativity in return. They called Jesus their Vision and Vision Provider.
Rob Scebold, conference coordinator, referenced in his devotional Isaiah 40:3–5, “make straight … a highway for our God.” Rob explained, “In our own way, that’s what we are called to do—to create a high-speed digital highway, as direct as possible, smoothing the way for translators’ work flow, so the peoples of the earth can receive God’s Word and see the glory of the Lord.”
In the following collection of articles, which first appeared in the Winter 2012 edition of Rev. 7, you will read about some of the many software programs this group has developed. These digital creators work extremely hard in behind-the-scenes jobs with little fanfare, but be assured that Bible translators are amazed at their innovative, time-saving products and are extremely grateful. Whether you understand their tech language or not, you will appreciate how God is advancing Bible translation through software development.
The Right Tools
Innovative software solutions for translators who are novice computer users
Playing With Words
Rapid Word Collection method of creating lexicons, enriching translation choices
Expanding the Software Developer Team
Development of software to speed Bible translation is being carried out by an expanding multinational team, which includes speakers of languages that benefit from the end products.
ScriptSource: Website documents world’s scripts, alphabets and writing systems; offers a collaborative environment