Technology can be a polarizing word. The idea of artificial intelligence or robots can seem exciting to some of us but scary to others. But did you know that technology is playing a critical role in building God’s Kingdom?
Andrew Flemming, vice president of global partnerships engagement for Wycliffe said,
These tools include things like: Starlink satellites, which provide stable internet; Render, which records oral Bible translations; and Chameleon, which enables the Bible to be translated into sign language in persecuted areas.
Access to stable internet is a roadblock for many translation teams around the world. Starlink satellites will eliminate this obstacle by providing internet stability. Starlink is a group of satellites operated by SpaceX, which provides internet to 31 countries with plans to extend to the entire world. Wycliffe has used satellites before but Starlink is faster and reaches farther.
This will make a difference in the lives of Bible translators, who often travel long distances for stable internet access. Andrew said: “Periodically, [one translator] has to make a two-hour trek through [a] jungle and down the mountain, with her baby and her laptop, where she can reach a small town that has an internet cafe. And that internet cafe has just enough bandwidth to do a ‘send/receive’ with other members of her translation team.”
Starlink will help translators and team members just like that woman share work faster. This means that more people will access God’s Word sooner!
Many communities around the world are oral communities, which means that in order for Scripture to be in a format these communities understand, it needs to be in an audio format.
Translators use Render, a software technology developed by Faith Comes By Hearing (a Wycliffe partner organization), to listen to Bible passages, record their oral translations and share files with team members.
Render is icon-based, making it accessible to people with varying levels of education, literacy and technological savviness. By streamlining the oral translation process, Render is positively affecting oral Bible translation and helping more people in oral societies clearly understand God’s Word. One person said that internalizing the recorded Scripture makes them feel like a living Bible!
Chameleon — which is used by Wycliffe in collaboration with partner organizations Deaf Bible Society, Deaf Mission, Pioneer Bible Translators and Wycliffe Australia — is an exciting software program that uses artificial intelligence and motion capture technology in sign language Bible translation.
In Deaf Scripture videos, actors are filmed signing passages, which makes this method dangerous in areas where Christians are persecuted. But God is using technology to make the impossible possible. Just like real chameleons change their appearance, Chameleon allows sign language translators to alter their appearances to communicate God’s Word. A real person signs, Chameleon captures their movements and then it converts their appearance.
Besides protecting translators, Chameleon is making it possible for God’s Word to reach more and more Deaf people. One missionary said they’re grateful this product is bringing the gospel to places where it’s unsafe to film signed Bible translation.
USING TECHNOLOGY FOR GOD’S GLORY
Starlink satellites, Render and Chameleon are helping advance Bible translation work around the world. But it’s also important to remember that these technological advances weren’t solely orchestrated by people: God gives people the skills and desires to develop technology so it can be used for his glory.
Praise God that this technology is helping more people around the world understand his love for them in their language!