A Moving Bible

By Rachel Greco

Lawrence, a young man with seminary experience who had worked primarily as a hiking guide in the mountains of Uganda, didn’t know what to expect when he volunteered to join three other translators and help translate Scripture into his local dialect of Ludadiri.

Lawrence came to the three-week Oral Bible Translation (OBT) workshop in the Budadiri Mountains of Uganda held by Faith Comes by Hearing (FCBH) in partnership with JAARS. He thought they would be writing and checking the Scripture word by word. So when he arrived at the workshop and learned about the OBT techniques of internalization, which include talking through the passage, acting out the scene, describing it with objects, and drawing on a storyboard, he says, “I was shocked.”

Ludadiri translation team learning about the Render software

But after three weeks of internalizing the Scripture, memorizing and recording it, Lawrence was enthusiastic. He said, “I can tell you right now I am going to be a master of internalization. I can say the Bible from verse 1 to 50 without checking anywhere. It is very good for me. It is good for my mind. At first it was very hard, but I have liked [this] method. [This] is the best method to do these things. There is no other. I look forward to doing it more.”

In order to record the Scripture, the two translation teams—made up of a translation consultant, two translation advisors (one per team) and four translators (two per team)—utilized laptops and headsets supplied by you through JAARS. Thank you!

The size of the laptops with their touch screen ability enabled the participants to easily use Render, the OBT software. Even though one of the translators said it was her first time to touch a computer, she learned very quickly.

A makeshift recording studio for Ludadiri team

The efficient equipment couldn’t solve one of the challenges, however. The training workshop occurred in a three-room building on the parish grounds. The rooms had cement walls and ceilings as well as glass windows. Dodji and Callie, the two OBT trainers, knew they would need some material to pad the walls, since there was a prominent echo even when talking in the room—a big problem when attempting to record Scripture!

The project coordinator with the Bible Society of Uganda had purchased some mattresses for each room, and the trainers propped these up on the walls near the translation teams’ worktables. They helped some, but the teams still had an audible echo in the recording, confirmed by FCBH in the initial audio quality feedback.

The trainers requested more mattresses and blankets and the Bible Society of Uganda provided the equipment. They added mattresses and foam made specifically for audio studios to the walls in one corner of each of the translation rooms. They then hung string across the room in two directions and threaded blankets over the string to surround the mattress-walled corner of the room. The blankets could be pushed to the side like curtains during the community check.

The day after the trainers set this up, the translators re-recorded two sets of Scripture, and FCBH confirmed that the audio quality had improved. The teams will continue to work in these “studios” after the workshop.

Even recording the few passages of Scripture at the workshop had a lasting impact on the translators. Before the workshop, Lawrence had listened to God’s Word at church and read a short Scripture from church. “I didn’t read long passages or think about them the way I’m doing now. Right now I can read a Scripture, internalize it myself, and think about it.”

With the help of the internalization techniques, Lawrence can now take Scripture with him wherever he goes. “I also own the Scriptures; I am like a moving Bible!”

You can help people like Lawrence to have the living Scripture inside them by giving to our Technology Solutions. Thank you!