We are witnessing a historic movement of Bible translation and an unprecedented opportunity to join God in seeing his Word reach every language.
“What Hath God Wrought?” So echoed Samuel F.B. Morse’s first message via his telegraphic invention from the U.S. Capitol building in 1844. Unprecedented technological advancements have since changed our lives in ways Mr. Morse could not have even imagined. We now carry in the palms of our hands computing power that once required a sizable room for operation.
Remarkable opportunities for global Bible translation have resulted and we are witnessing its greatest period of expansion. By the year 2000, 366 language communities had access to at least a portion of God’s Word. Eighteen brief years later, 677 now have access. During this same time, completed New Testament translations rose from 928 to 1,543, a 66 percent increase.
For many years, translators had to cut and paste the pages of the New Testament together for printing, requiring constant retyping. Though JAARS began in the 1940s by providing aviation and radio service, the ensuing decades have seen its problem-solving work expanding to technology support, enabling workers to provide more accurate translations, more quickly.
To expedite communications, computer specialists used to work with old teletype machines located in regional centers. Their minicomputers operated out of small suitcases and were charged by 12-volt car batteries. Though these resources seem archaic to our time, they greatly expanded the linguistic work of performing speech analysis, organizing language data, and preparing for Scripture translation.
Now Bible translation utilizes a broad range of modern technology: laptops, tablets, audio Scripture players, smartphones, Bible apps, Scripture websites, specialized translation software such as Paratext and Render, and off-the-grid internet connectivity. Our vernacular media strategies seek to communicate with nonreaders through audio and video presentations: recordings of the Scriptures and videos like the JESUS film and various Bible stories in numerous languages.
The future of Bible translation has never been more promising and exciting. What better investment is there on this side of eternity than providing God’s Word to those waiting to receive it?
We invite you to join us in seeing the Scriptures come alive in many more heart languages around the world. Learn more here.