Hi-Tech Being Applied To Age-Old Vocation; Tech & Innovation Show Notes | Episode 007
In this episode, Kenny Jahng talks the future of technology and how it’s being applied to Bible translation to make the Bible accessible to as many people as possible in the language or dialect they can best understand. Also, he talks about using the .BIBLE domain to further spread the mission across the web.
Do you want to find out more about spreading the message through technology?
Tune in now!
Lifeway Headquarters, Downtown Nashville
Tickets Available on the Website
The Seed Company: https://seedcompany.com/
Wycliffe Bible Translators: https://www.wycliffe.org/
MAST program: https://www.wycliffeassociates.org/what-we-do/project/79
Translation Studio App: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.translationstudio.androidapp&hl=en_US
[07:27] MAST is a collaborative translation method. So you no longer have individual translators doing their work in a corner of the world all by themselves for decades at a time.
[08:03] When you have a team of translators like that working at the same time with the same piece, they can translate the entire New Testament in weeks or months instead of years.
[12:47] You have to understand that the risk of the workers in the field is reduced greatly, especially in certain dangerous countries where meeting together to work on a translation or worshiping, a draw suspicion, right? And the government does not allow it.
[13:37] Their vision is to see bible translation programs happen to be in progress in every single language, still needing one by the year 2025.
[14:26] Sign language is important. The deaf community is considered part of all God’s people and so it’s approximately 1600 languages and right now, there’s actual translation work being done on 2,500 languages worldwide.
Hello friends, Kenny Jahng here coming to you this September from New York City on the East Coast. Today. I’m missing my West Coast partner at the microphone, DJ Chuang. He’s not here today, but he’ll be back in the chair, DJ will be in front of the mic shortly as we continue our series of interviews with leaders and innovators and entrepreneurs at the intersection of Bible and technology. That’s what this podcast was started for to be a journey because as time marches on, we know that there are a whole set of pioneers taking best practices, marketplace resources, applying them to the age old Bible, and creating a new future, a new paradigm for increased and better Bible engagement. And so we are using this Future.BIBLE Podcast to look ahead as well as see what’s happening right now in the space. And that’s what is so exciting as we meet more of these leaders in this space.
Well today, I thought I’d share some highlights from a very interesting partner in organization doing some cutting edge things in terms of the age old vocation of Bible translation. That’s right, Bible translation I said it. Now, when I might think about that phrase, Bible translation at first I’d picture something more like, you know, super librarians, you know, not the most exciting scene in my mind. But, you know, with some of the things that have been going on, it is not quite like that, right? You might think that when you hear the term Bible translation, you think stodgy old scholars in Indiana Jones style setting, doing esoteric tedious work. But again, I’ve been fortunate to be engaged with new projects that have exposed me to organizations like The Seed Company which is dedicated to Bible translation as well as it’s associated and parents, organization called Wycliffe Bible Translators.
And it is incredible, let me just tell you incredible. Once you see inside how they are applying technology today to the AGL craft of Bible translation. This is not something to be taken lightly. Now, nobody I think at Wycliffe Bible Translators could have imagined the speed, the pure speed and velocity of expansion and advancement of Bible translation that’s being experienced today along with strong partnerships. These encouraging results can be attributed largely to technology. And so since 1942, I think over 70 years, the organization’s focus has been making the Bible accessible to as many people as possible in the language or dialect that they can best understand. And this even includes a sign language and apparently there’s many dialects of sign language included in the list as well. And recently they’ve been able to use the .BIBLE domain, .BIBLE remember is one of the newest sets over a thousand GTL, these top level domains that have been released into the wild by ICAN so that you and I and organizations around the world that are Bible inspired can pick up a .BIBLE domain to further spread the message about their mission across the worldwide web. And so that’s what Wycliffe Bible Translators has done. They’ve been very forward, leaning and have adopted the detail pretty quickly. And so now you have a website that you can look up on your own www.wycliffe.BIBLE. The stunning website is visually engaging, It just pulls you in. They’ve done a fantastic job on the design so Wycliffe.BIBLE is meant to clearly represent the diversity and the breadth of the organization’s work all over the planet. I really challenge you to go take a look and see what these guys are doing because it is incredible. I think it’s actually very life serving and encouraging for anybody of the Christian faith to understand an organization like this is doing the work that they’re doing it contained, so this site contains valuable information.
A bunch of testimonials related to their mission. And the site that they’re using, this Wycliffe Bible for is primarily a destination site for the public to access the annual report of the organization, Wycliffe Bible Translators. Now I think that is a fantastic usage, we’ve been talking about how these details are being used because it’s such a new breed of URL addresses on the internet and micro sites are increasingly an important use for how organizations are starting to use it. So, take a look, Wycliffe.BIBLE and love to hear your feedback, your comments, your observations, etc. It’s a beautiful website. Now, we’re not going to talk about just the website today. It’s more of the technology that is being used behind the scenes across the globe of the translation strategies that they have are really exciting advances. And I think I can only imagine that in the last 5 to 10 years it has been accelerated with what has been made available in terms of technology and the web, etc.
So, technology coupled with the network of national translators across the globe is giving tons of opportunities and some of them are very significant, you know, forays into countries that might be dangerous where persecution is happening, but this allows that to lower the risk of the teams that are on the ground doing the translation. So in terms of advancing the gospel, there’s two things that I’d love to, that I’ve learned about in how they’re accelerating .BIBLE translation. One is a technology called MAST. MAST stands for Mobilized Assistance Supporting Translation. And according to Wycliffe associates, their website, they give a very good overview of it and you can dive deeper. They’ve got some white papers there, etc. But from a 10,000 foot view, MAST is a collaborative translation method. So you no longer have individual translators doing their work in a corner of the world all by themselves for decades at a time.
You’ve got collaborative translations happening that enables teams of national translators to translate books of the Bible simultaneously. And so, they’re doing it collaboratively. Apparently it happens at a much, much faster pace. So with MAST, for example, a team of 26 national translators, and I get this, this is like kind of mind boggling. When you have a team of translators like that working at the same time with the same piece, they can translate the entire New Testament in weeks or months instead of years, weeks or months, instead of years. Imagine if you are one of the old time translators. Just seeing how the young ones these days are using these technologies and methods, where he used to literally take years, if not decades to translate and now they’re shortening that time period to months and weeks. And so based on proven linguistic principles, they’ve taken this MAST platform and that engages national translators, local church leaders. And what they allow them to do is help in the drafting and checking process, right? So the checking takes place continuously throughout the translation process because of MAST. And then this allows for a much higher accuracy rate in the final translation. So just, if you think about it, you’ve got these teams that are all, I guess kind of like a continuous proofreading might be one way to think about it. If using this technology and then increases the final accuracy of the translation. So that’s, I think, one of those things where we never think about how the Bible actually gets translated. There’s translators in the corner doing it, but it just must be amazing to be able to apply this and just change the environment of how the teams are working. So MAST can be used in small groups in the most remote locations apparently.
And again, that helps, especially with projects, for thousands of translation projects actually, that would not otherwise be possible for years to come. And so MAST is one of those examples that the intersection of Bible and technology that is doing significant things and if you know of the actual campaign work for Wycliffe Bibles and the milestones that they’re trying to reach, it is just amazing. So, the second piece is something called Translation Studio. Now, it’s a little bit ironic, but you know, the iPhone started the whole app store phrase and the phrase that everyone says is, there’s an APP for it where there’s an app for that, and apparently for translating God’s word, there’s an APP for that. Unfortunately, it’s not available on IOS, it’s available on Android, right? So the goal of translating God’s word, the Bible, it’s every single language that’s available in the world is now being, you know, harnessed by an app that is available through Google play.
So that app called Translation Studio integrates apparently several leading as strategies in Bible translation. And then it’s designed to run on mobile devices, right? That’s why it’s on the Google Play Store. So, you’re talking tablets, you’re talking mobile phones, and apparently according to them they chose android because that is technically the most common mobile operating system worldwide, right? Despite what you might be seeing in the first world here in the United States, if you’re listening in on any of the major cities and all people are carrying iPhones globally, the android platform is the dominant one. So putting an app on that platform allows Bible translation to reach Christians around the globe and the app apparently has a resource section that provides information and key terms and also how to overcome translation challenges and it’s got resources to assist local translators in creating accurate, clear, and most importantly, natural translations so that the local language so his native can understand it in their own heart language.
So these collaboration tools are meant for multiple people to work together. And the beauty of it is you can do it online, you could do an offline, you can draft, you can revise, etc. Those are the types of things that are able to be done in an agile manner, again, on tablets and mobile phones, etc. And because you’re able to do this with such agility using digital technology, again, you have to understand that the risk of the workers on the field, in the field is reduced greatly, especially in certain dangerous countries where meeting together to work on a translation or worshiping, a draw suspicion, right? And the government does not allow it. And so in those types of situations, you have to have really infinite care on being covered, etc. In this way, you have community, you have communication, its just like social networks, right? You were able to be connected with others for a common thread. And I think that’s just amazing, that technology can enable to do something like that. So Wycliffe, if you want a zoom out, is on this, you know, march basically, their vision is to see bible translation programs happen to be in progress in every single language, still needing one by the year 2025. It’s not that far away, right? There are 7,000 languages around the world approximately that are being spoken and all those, guess how many languages still need a bible translation? Just guess, out of the 7,000 in bible translations that had been going on for decades and decades and decades. Well, as of today, there’s approximately a 1,600 languages still needing translation to be started for their language. And they say approximately again, because they use, they include sign language.
Sign language is important. The deaf community is considered part of all God’s people and so it’s approximately 1600 languages and right now, there’s actual translation work being done on 2,500 languages worldwide. 2,500 language worldwide are being translated, you know, the bible’s been translated in 2,500 languages. Over 2,100 are using Wycliffe and their partners. And so this is really, really important, I guess, piece of the puzzle of being able to apply technology to the bible. 1.5 million people don’t have the full bible in their first language. I just can’t imagine that growing up in an English speaking country. Imagine if you don’t have the bible available in your own first language, that the only bible that we have is in Spanish or French or Russian or some other language than the one that we speak normally. 1.5 billion people around the world don’t have it. That’s kind of mind blowing, I don’t, it just makes you think that we have to increase the priority of bible translation, right? And more than a hundred and 10 million people in the world, don’t have a single verse of scripture in their own language that is crazy. That is crazy. 110 million people right now cannot pick up a book and read bible verses in their own language, that’s just amazing. So, Wycliffe.BIBLE is a great place to check out some of the great things that are being done. They are a pioneer and partner of american bible society because of their, you know, forward looking adoption of the new GTLD of the .BIBLE, but more so for everything that they’re doing in terms of using, applying advanced strategies in technology to translation. And so this is one of those things that hopefully you’re encouraged by things that are happening in the field on the ground and knowing that God’s people are using technology that is available to you and me and everyone else, and we’re using it for internal impact.
Would love to have further discussions about this. In fact, one of the things that I wanted to share today is, there’s a place to meet other people, like people from Wycliffe Bible Translations. There is a conference coming up actually in November that our teams going to be heading to and hopefully you will have a chance to consider coming. It is a single day, single track conference, so it’s a low commitment that’s aimed at bringing together the followers of Jesus Christ centered on technology and innovation. It’s called Faith Leads Tech. And you can get information at the website, www.FaithLeads.Tech. It’s going to be held at the Lifeway Headquarters in Downtown Nashville. Tickets are available on the actual website. You can see the schedule of speakers, but there’s a ton of very interesting, cutting edge speakers that are talking about. Let me just share some of the talks that it’d be that are scheduled, you know, for that conference. And I think that once you look at the agenda and the speaker list for the conference, you might consider picking up a ticket. If you are, you definitely need to reach out to DJ and myself so that we can meet up and make an appointment to meet you guys because as listeners of our podcast, we want to invite you into the story, maybe even interview you as we meet together. So anyway, we’ve got great stories of, you know, entrepreneurs like the co founders of Dwell, Dwell Bible APP that was a Kickstarter project and has formally launched and is doing really well. The other one is the I’m looking forward to is Brandon Donaldson from Life Church. He used to be overlooking the Life Church Online Ministry when he launched it and now he’s part of the Open Digerati initiative and building that open network that really shares the resources that Life Church has been continuously putting together.
Chad Ballow from Christ Church Nashville is going to be talking about the anti social network or a modest proposal for the newest killer APP. Talking about loneliness and the fact that it’s killing people. And so he’s proposed building a social networking APP that helps remedy the condition of loneliness. So, that’s going to be a very interesting topic, the prototype that he is going to show there. There’s a data scientist there that I think Daniel Whiteneck is going to be talking about really interesting stuff for the concern of misuse of data, implications of AI are all around us and the church has a unique opportunity to demonstrate positive applications and so what does that mean, and what is needed and how do you accelerate the spread of the gospel, if that is true. Another one that I’m looking forward to is Justin Trapp and Wade Beard and who are actually co founders of Sermonary.CO, which is another Kickstarter project. And Justin also launched illustration ideas .BIBLE, which we interviewed Justin on an earlier episode this year for the Future.BIBLE Podcast. And then, we have also another data, I guess oriented talk that’s going to be done by from Robert Rouse, who is the creator of Viz.BIBLE. If you have not gone to Viz.BIBLE, you need to check it out right now. I’m really looking forward to meeting him. And hopefully he’ll be able to come onto the podcast and share his worldview and understanding and experience of what does it mean for bringing big data and visualization to the bible using that technology and applying data visualization as a teaching tool, what does that mean? And there’s a whole slew of other speakers on the Roster. You should check it out FaithLeads.TECH. I’ll leave it up to you to look at the Roster Speakers and the talks, but it’s going to be a fantastic time for us to be together.
So that’s it for today’s show, want to share that highlights and also that other opportunity for us to meet each other and also explore further topics in the intersection of Bible technology. Really thank you so much for listening to us and giving us the feedback. DJ and I are very encouraged every time one of you reaches out to us and lets us know your thoughts and even suggestions for the show. We want to be the number one show where you’ll meet innovators ready to talk about how we can apply the always evolving technology to the never changing Bible for deeper engagement with Scripture. So, you’ve been listening and we want to hear from you, that’s the next step. I’m putting it on you to further the conversation. But, in the meantime, thank you for listening to the Future.BIBLE Podcast. Remember for videos, transcripts, and more resources, head over to our website www.Future.BIBLE. Remember, be blessed and be a blessing.