Computers speed Bible translation
August 30, 2006
Computer programs will never replace the human touch in Bible translation work, but they are helping speed the process, Wycliffe’s director of IT recruitment told Bryan students Aug. 30.
Mr. Jim Leamer met with students in Mr. Earl Reed’s introduction to computer science fundamentals class to discuss technology applications in biblical translation efforts. He said Wycliffe Bible Translators itself has 350 persons working in information technology positions “and we need 250 more.” Jobs range from hardware and software development to audio and video production to enhance the mission of translation Scripture and leading people to faith in Christ.
Mr. Leamer, who has been working with translation technology applications for more than 20 years, said some of the challenges Bible translators face arise from working in remote areas where there is no electricity. Solar-powered and wind-up computers and radios have been developed to help keep missionaries connected to their missions, as well as to allow them to use computer applications in their work.
On the home front, IT personnel help mission agencies share information to avoid duplication of efforts and to better understand cultural implications in translation and outreach efforts.
Before many of today’s computer applications were available, Mr. Leamer said it typically took 20 years for a missionary to learn a new language, develop an alphabet and grammar, translate and publish the Scriptures. Now, that time has been cut to about 12 years.
He encouraged students to investigate missions and learn how they can put their creativity, vision and skills to use to further translation efforts around the world.