The Body of Christ in Bible Translation

Note: This is the third in a series of updates about translationStudio, Wycliffe Associates’ new Android app and an exciting new project. The first post described how the app is relevant in the world of evangelism and Bible translation. The second post explained what translationStudio is and does.

As Bible translation moves increasingly into the hands of the local churches that God has raised up among the nations of the world, their earnest desire is to increase their unity with the global body of Christ. They are thirsty for God’s Word and see collaboration in Bible translation as an opportunity to learn from the scriptural understanding of their brothers and sisters in Christ.

translationStudio is a tool to connect the global body of Christ through His Word. Here’s how:

Along with each verse of Scripture and paragraph of a Bible story, there is a resource page that provides an explanation of key terms and translation challenges that occur in the passage. These resources are being developed by an expanding team of experienced translators and Bible scholars to assure that local translators have everything they need to succeed in their work. In years past, the only way to provide these resources was for the Bible scholars to personally travel to the village or teach in a local seminary. Computer technology now enables us to deliver these vital resources globally. translationStudio - Resources

These biblical resources are initially included as text, but in upcoming versions of translationStudio we plan to add video and even “live” options to link local translators to experienced Bible scholars and translators via the Internet.

As we develop these resources, we are drawing from the wealth of biblical materials that already exist but are unavailable to most of the world due to copyright limitations. Every resource included in translationStudio will be released under Creative Commons: Attribution/Share-Alike licensing that allows free translation into any language.

Our short-term goal is to have all of the biblical source text and related resources available in translationStudio in 50 gateway languages.

To learn more about how you can be involved in this strategy to speed God’s Word to the world, just give us a call toll-free at 1-800-THE WORD (800-843-9673) or email us!

“Now the body is not made up of one part but of many.” 1 Corinthians 12:14 (NIV)

Finance Manager Needed in the South Pacific

Beautiful. This is the word that comes first to my mind when I think of Papua New Guinea.

Papua New Guinea includes lush tropical islands with towering mountains, plunging waterfalls, emerald jungles, and crystal blue coastal waters. But the real beauty is in the people—and this job is about coming alongside the local people. Kids in Papua New Guinea

We are recruiting a Finance Manager to serve with the Bible Translation Association of Papua New Guinea as a mentor and trainer for local staff serving in this area of responsibility.

While the Finance Manager is responsible for the day-to-day accounting and financial management, the primary goal will be to increase the capacity of our Papua New Guinean partners.

On the finance side of this responsibility, increasing sources for local funding is a key to long-term sustainability. This will involve both effective engagement of local churches as well as developing complementary business strategies to provide additional revenue sources.

Papua New Guinea is in the South Pacific, just north of Australia. This position is located in the capital city of Port Moresby on the south coast of the main island. The working language at the Bible Translation Association is English.

If you or someone you know is interested to learn more about this opportunity, just call Ruben Garay toll-free at 1-800-THE WORD (800-843-9673). Ruben will discuss the qualifications required for this position as well as connect you to our local team in Port Moresby.

With over 200 languages in PNG still without one verse of Scripture, the future of Bible translation here depends on equipping Papua New Guineans to effectively tackle this challenge.

You can play a part in bringing the Bible to these 200+ Bibleless languages! Call Ruben Garay today at 1-800-THE WORD (800-843-9673).

Introducing translationStudio

On Tuesday I described a scenario that is about to become very familiar at Wycliffe Associates… a story of a person who begins to translate Bible stories, and ultimately Scripture, through the use of our newly provided resources. I promised I’d go into more detail, and here it is! I couldn’t sleep before I wrote this. Too excited about this news:

God’s Word in every language took a giant step toward reality as our translationStudio was released for free download in the Google Play store.  The app is designed for mobile devices using Android operating systems. Here’s the link to download!

This is just the beginning of developing a tool that puts Bible translation within reach of Christians worldwide.

Let’s talk about what translationStudio does. The app integrates several leading edge strategies to advance Bible translation. I described the process in Tuesday’s post, which I recommend reading if you haven’t yet. translationStudio

Additional notes about translationStudio:

  • It is designed to run on computer tablets and mobile phones that use the Android operating system. Despite the fact that Americans love their iPhones, Android is the most common mobile operating system worldwide.
  • The current release includes keyboards in 15 languages, with more in development.
  • The Resource section of this app provides a wealth of information on key terms and overcoming translation challenges to assist local translators in creating translations that are clear, natural, and accurate.
  • Collaboration tools enable any number of people to work together, online or offline, to draft and revise their work for the best possible result.
  • The digital format enables Scripture to be published immediately and at very low cost through the Internet or by sharing memory cards.
  • We are also working to load English source text for the entire Old and New Testament that will be licensed to allow immediate translation into any language – without copyright limitations.
  • Open Bible Stories has been released under Creative Commons: Attribution/Share-Alike licensing. This simply means that it can be translated freely into any language, anywhere, at any time, by anyone – without copyright limitations.
  • Although today the Open Bible Stories source text is only loaded in English, within weeks we will have them loaded in a dozen languages. In the coming months we will have these loaded in at least 50 gateway languages, enabling people who are bilingual in any of these languages to begin translating these Bible stories into their own language. What’s a gateway language? It’s any of over 50 widely spoken languages like English, French, and others that are known by some speakers of much less widely known languages that still don’t have the Bible.

All of this is available at no cost to the local church or their translators.

This summer we tested the beta version of this app with translation teams working in closed countries. The current version of translationStudio reflects their feedback to us on how to best assist them. By serving these translators, working in some of the most difficult and threatening parts of our world, the same tools and resources will be accessible to the Church worldwide.

This project is not finished. It is really just beginning. We need technicians, app developers, trainers, and Bible scholars to share in maximizing the benefit of these resources to the global Church. We need financial partners to include this strategy in your stewardship priorities as a blessing to the world.  We need partners to lift this up in prayer, seeking God’s continuing wisdom and guidance for everyone involved.

Email us or give us a call toll-free at 1-800-THE WORD (800-843-9673) to learn more about how God has prepared you to share in speeding His Word to the world!

“May God be gracious to us and bless us
    and make his face to shine upon us,
that your way may be known on earth,
    your saving power among all nations.
Let the peoples praise you, O God;
    let all the peoples praise you!”
Psalm 67:1-3 (ESV)

No More Waiting for God’s Word

Somewhere in the world today someone decided she has waited too long. She is desperate for God’s Word in her heart language. She has been asking for help for years, but help is slow in coming. Today she stepped out in faith.

With a whispered prayer she searched the Internet on her smart phone. She had tried this before, but always came away disappointed. But this time… she found a new app in the Google Play store. With just a click she downloaded translationStudio to her phone.

Unconsciously she held her breath as she tapped the screen to open the app.

The app opened to the title “Open Bible Stories,” with a list of 50 Bible stories. The first one said “The Creation.”  A tap on the title opened a page with sixteen illustrated story segments. A tap on the first segment opened a page with two columns. In the left column was a short paragraph, just four sentences that began the creation story. The lines in the right column looked like a blank sheet of paper.

The beginning of the story list in translationStudio.

The beginning of the story list in translationStudio.

With a tentative touch in the right column a cursor began to flash and… a keyboard appeared at the bottom of the page! But the letters were the English alphabet, and there were also some unfamiliar buttons. One looked a bit like a globe. A tap on the globe changed the letters on the keyboard to a new language! In just a few taps her native language’s familiar letters appeared!

The flashing cursor beckoned her to continue. So… she began to type, slowly translating the English words and sentences into her own language, for the very first time.

She read the story. “This is how the beginning of everything happened. God created the universe and everything in it in six days. After God created the earth it was dark and empty, and nothing had been formed in it. But God’s Spirit was there over the water.”

Confusion. What does “created” mean? How to translate “God’s Spirit”? She looked for hints that could help.

The icon on the top right of the screen looked like a light bulb. A slightly more confident tap opened a page titled “Resources”, filled with notes about the key terms. Some of the words were framed like buttons, as if they were linked to another page. A tap on “Spirit” opened a new page, explaining who God’s Spirit is!

An example of the Resources screen in translationStudio.

An example of the Resources screen in translationStudio.

With increasing confidence she typed. In less than an hour she translated the entire Creation story into her heart language!

Backing up to the story list, story number 23 caught her eye. “The Birth of Jesus.” After a couple taps on the screen she began to translate the Christmas story in her language for the very first time.

Today this scenario of a person able to begin translating Bible stories, and soon thereafter God’s Word, into one’s native language is moving from the realm of fiction to non-fiction.

On Thursday I’m going to show you how Wycliffe Associates is using new technology to empower local translators and rapidly accelerate Bible translation in the most difficult parts of the world. Stick with me as I share how our new translationStudio app works with Open Bible Stories to help the global church accomplish Vision 2025… to initiate a Bible translation in every remaining language by the year 2025.

Executive Assistant Needed in the South of France

A Mediterranean island village in the south of France is a strategic location for Bible translation to impact the northern tier of African nations. Our partner here has an established network of relationships with Christian leaders across North Africa with the vision and access to launch Bible translation in dozens of languages in these limited-access nations. But while their vision is large, their team is small.

Village South of France

The leader of this expanding network has too many demands for his time and energy. He is asking us to recruit an Executive Assistant to join the team in France, working closely with this leader to increase his effectiveness.

French language competency would be helpful, but can be gained on location. Experience in office management, project coordination, and staff supervision are essential. Calendar management, travel planning, word processing, and routine bookkeeping will free the executive for other priorities. Experience working with a multi-cultural team would be ideal.

But one additional ability is required – availability.

If you or someone you know would be interested to know more about this opportunity just phone Judy Yon toll-free at 1-800-THE WORD (800-843-9673). Judy will give you more specifics on the job requirements and connect you with the team to answer any questions you have.

Do you have the combination of abilities and availability to help advance Bible translation? We’d love to talk with you about God’s preparation in your life for this opportunity.

Business Consultant Needed in East Asia

Tired of using your professional skill and experience to make someone else wealthy? Are you ready to expand your horizons and build rich personal and professional relationships? Do you want to invest your time and energy in work that has eternal value?

Our partner company in East Asia is looking for a Business Consultant to work with a multi-cultural team delivering professional services to a wide range of clients in support of Bible translation. Core services include document translation, small business consulting, and language tutoring.

The company is located in a large urban center and serves clients throughout the surrounding region. The Business Consultant will work closely with the CEO on business strategy, sales and marketing, office management, personnel training, financial planning and reporting, and service improvement.

If you or someone you know would like to learn more about this opportunity to serve minority language communities in East Asia, just phone Ruben Garay toll-free at 1-800-THE WORD (800-843-9673). Ruben will talk with you about the job qualifications and put you in contact with other members of our East Asia team.

Give us a call. We’d love to talk with you about how God has prepared you to be a part of the global Bible translation team!

Bearing One Another’s Burdens

A dusty footpath wound past our first home in Haiti, disappearing down into the ravine. All day long young girls walked down this path with empty five-gallon buckets swinging lazily from their hands, returning a few minutes later with a full load of water balanced carefully on their heads. The tropical heat and humidity worked against them, but they strained upward, seldom losing a drop, because their load of water was invaluable to their families.

On other paths you might find these same girls bearing loads of charcoal, mangoes, or even cement blocks. I expected these burdens would bend and break these small girls, but instead it strengthened them.

The girls walked tall and straight, with a regal air betrayed only by the threadbare rags that hung limply from their shoulders and hips.

These girls are not just carrying these burdens for themselves. They carry them for others.

The sight of girls carrying burdens is common in many of the places where Bible translation is underway. What is invisible in these areas, but just as important, are the thousands of Wycliffe Associates supporters like you who are helping to carry God’s Word to the hearts and lives of these same families.

Galatians 6:2 says, “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ” (NIV). 

When I think of you supporting Wycliffe Associates, I picture you carrying and bearing the burdens of the individuals, families, communities, and nations of our ministries. I see you standing tall and straight, bearing up gladly to serve them.

Thank you for your partnership in Bible translation!

Bandwagons and Overgrown Paths

Did you catch the video of me pouring ice water over my head this week? No.

At the risk of pouring cold water on a bandwagon that is already drenched in cold water, why would I choose not to participate in such an obviously compassionate, generous, and fun trend? And why would I choose to blog about choosing not to participate?

I’ve never been much for bandwagons. Bandwagons are fancy vehicles designed to showcase the band as they ride the parade route in their neighborhood. But they generally get poor gas mileage and are not good for getting through rough terrain.

Now, if I was the President of the ALS Association I’d be pretty happy with the multi-million dollar boost in donations this summer.

I’ll have to pass on this bandwagon – and all the other bandwagons as well.

There’s a road less traveled, actually overgrown paths cutting through the deserts, jungles, mountains, and warzones where people mostly live in invisible desperation.

There are no parades or bandwagons in these neighborhoods. Just anonymous people being neighborly, sharing a meal, or tea, and conversation. Connecting heart to heart. Caring for one another.

… thinking together about eternal truths.

I guess I’d just rather walk.

Electrical Power Specialist Needed

Wycliffe Associates is looking for a person with an adventurous spirit called by God to be a part of our Technology Advancement team based in Orlando, FL.  The primary objective is to research, design, build, install, and maintain electrical systems to ensure that remote Bible translation teams have the power they need to do their jobs effectively.

You will impact eternity with your skills by developing electrical solutions (battery backup, generator, solar, etc…) to power Bible Translation Acceleration Kits, Print on Demand systems, facilities environmental controls, and much more.  You will then creatively deploy these systems to the field where you will assist in the installation and train local personnel to manage them through documentation, training, and updating solutions for longevity.

We need an innovator who is able to look at unique power challenges and develop creative solutions. We need a technician willing to answer God’s call and travel to the uttermost parts of the world! Knowledge of computer systems is a plus.

If you or someone you know would like to learn more about this opportunity just reply to this email or phone Ruben Garay toll-free at 1-800 THE WORD (800-843-9673). Ruben can give you more details about the qualifications and job requirements as well as connecting you with others on our Tech Advance team.

Help us assure that Bible translation teams have the power they need to speed God’s Word to the nations!

Researcher Needed

What kind of team do you think of when I say “teamwork?” This is a question I often pose to people considering joining our Wycliffe Associates team.

Most people think of a sports team. I often describe our ministry team as similar to a basketball team. We aim for frequent scoring, have very few timeouts, and do a lot of work while we are nearly out of breath.

But imagine a basketball team on the court with moving, or disappearing, baskets. This is one of the ways I describe what Wycliffe Associates is experiencing right now.

For many years the data on Bible translation has been quite stable and predictable. It was easy to know which languages still needed Bible translation.

But since the pace of new translation starts has accelerated dramatically in recent years, and because much of the data on language needs is 20 to 40 years old, we need to update the language data for our strategic planning.
We are building a team of researchers to update this information through collaboration with our partners in Bible translation worldwide.

We are looking for people with research and project management experience to survey language databases, update data through communication with local teams, identify global patterns relevant to Bible translation, and carefully manage data detail at the individual language level.

Computer database skills and high-speed Internet connection are essential. Data mapping experience would be ideal. We can use researchers full-time or part-time from any location.

If you or someone you know would like to know more about this opportunity, just reply to this email or phone Judy Yon toll-free at 1-800-THE WORD (800-843-9673). Judy will give you more details on the qualifications and job requirements, and will connect you with other members of our research team.

You could be a part of the team that helps assure the highest quality of information as we continue our efforts to speed God’s Word to every nation!

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