Access virtually unlimited: the digital revolution
ABOVE PHOTO BY RACHEL WOLVERTON
You have probably heard, as I frequently do, ‘There’s an app for that’. Technology develops rapidly, and the changes that have happened in digital publishing over the last decade have been astonishing. New apps are released frequently, existing apps are updated regularly, often with little or no inconvenience to users except for the fun of finding new possibilities at your fingertips. Constant progress ensures that the apps and other digital publishing tools remain as useful as possible.
These rapid technological advancements apply equally to the work of Bible translation.
The introduction of digital publishing of Scripture was revolutionary, allowing broader access to finished translation more quickly and cheaply for many language speakers. Where even five years ago this may have looked like an online Bible, perhaps with a concordance, such as the Helong New Testament which Stuart Cameron and others were involved in, now many translations are available through apps on mobile phones.
In many remote areas around the world people have more access to mobile phone networks than many other services, and use their mobile phones to connect with others who speak their language, over great distances.
Phones are tiny mobile computers and, with access to the internet, are capable of many things. Songs, audio recordings of Scripture, YouTube videos, the Jesus Film – so many things can be accessed through phones and other devices to encourage and grow Christians in their faith, in their own language, as soon as anything is made available online!
SIL International is involved in developing and supporting a wide range of software to assist with a wide variety of language development activities. See some of what is available http://software.sil.org/products/.
Physical copies of published translations are usually concentrated in the geographical area where a language is spoken.
This makes access to God’s Word difficult for those who live away from the majority of their language group, in cities or in other countries. With digital publishing, such people are able to access Scripture in their own language wherever they are. Combined with the use of social media, it is now far easier to maintain connections which previously weakened and faltered with physical distance.
Digital publishing also makes it easier and safer for people to access Scripture in areas hostile to Christianity.
Where it is unsafe to carry a physical Bible, having the Bible on your phone is both easier to access and less visible. Content can be created in any geographical context and then shared with language speakers across the world.
Praise the Lord for the way he is using digital publishing to strengthen and grow his church!
This story is from Wycliffe Today – October 2017
Author: Sharna Steinert