Sign Language Translation Tool (SLTT) streamlines Bible translation

By January 12, 2023

International (MNN) — You can help eradicate Bible poverty among the Deaf! Understanding the “problem” is the first step toward providing a solution.

“Of the 375 sign languages globally, [only] 70 to 75 have active Bible translation work,” Rob Myers of DOOR International says.

These active translations represent less than “25 percent of the sign languages out there, and that’s something we need to change,” he continues.

“There are still millions of Deaf people who don’t have one verse of Scripture yet in their heart language. [Sign language Bible translation] allows people access to God’s Word when they never had it before.”

A software called Sign Language Translation Tool (SLTT) is streamlining the Bible translation process for Deaf teams. Thanks to the collaborative efforts of Deaf Bible Society, United Bible Societies, and others, the SLTT grew from an idea to a reality.

“Around 80 percent of the active sign language translation community is using this platform, so you can see how critical this tool is,” Myers says.

“This is the first time in history that this kind of platform has been available.”

Why SLTT matters

Putting a sign language Bible translation together used to be a logistical nightmare. “There’s file-moving [happening] everywhere, and trying to keep track of all that information is challenging,” Myers explains.

“A translator would set up a video camera in a studio with a green screen and record their video. Then, they’d take that file and hand it to someone else. It would be stored somewhere and edited. Eventually, someone else will come in and give feedback [on the video file].”

Now, Deaf translators can log into the SLTT and “record [or edit] the video right there” in the platform, Myers says.

The Notes section of the Sign Language Translation Tool allows team members to communicate their thoughts and feedback in written or signed form.
(Screenshot courtesy of Stuart Thiessen via DOOR International)

Using their laptop or phone’s built-in camera, translation consultants can “provide sign language feedback right at the minute and second point where feedback is needed, and that gets recorded and kept [in SLTT].”

DOOR is creating training resources for the SLTT with help from the 4.2.20 Foundation. These tools are similar to the study tools found on Bible Gateway.

“If you log into Bible Gateway and you’re reading Scripture, and you want to know something more about a particular word, or context for a particular time in biblical history, you’ve got plenty of written language content that you can click on,” Myers says.

Developing items like these in sign languages “become an awesome resource readily available to a (Deaf) translation team if we can get it in something like the SLTT platform.”

Now that you know, how will you respond? Use the prompts listed alongside this article to find your place in the story!




Header image is a screenshot of the Sign Language Translation Tool. Photo courtesy of Stuart Thiessen via DOOR International.