Translations soar with satellite

By October 5, 2011

Nigeria (MNN) — The ability to connect and chat with someone in another country through the Internet is a privilege this generation often takes for granted.

But for Bible translators in the most remote villages of Nigeria, this privilege of instant connection is more like an extremely rare and invaluable luxury. Due to lack of even basic satellite connection, many have to travel long distances over rough terrain and through hostile territory to mail their translations.

Bruce Smith, president and CEO of Wycliffe Associates, says, “God’s Word is the only hope for peace in places like Nigeria. National Bible translators who commit their lives to provide God’s Word in the heart language of people groups around the world urgently need our help.”

That help comes in the form of Translation Acceleration Kits, providing instant satellite connection so translators can speed up their efforts. Recent production of Translation Acceleration Kits by Wycliffe Associates is revolutionizing the whole process of Bible translation.

A Translation Acceleration Kit comes with a portable netbook computer, a satellite communication terminal, a solar panel, a battery, and a power supply. With this kit, a Bible translator can connect across hundreds and thousands of miles with supervisors and assistants in real-time. This way, they can receive feedback on their work as instantly as it is reviewed.

Pastor John, a national translator in Nigeria, says that before he had a Translation Acceleration Kit, he had to mail his translations to his translation consultant. Let’s just say responses couldn’t come as easily as your five-second text message.

“At times it could take two to three months before he gets it,” says Pastor John. “He would return it during our workshops three times a year. Now he receives it as soon as we finish, and he can return it that quickly.”

Nigeria ranks as one of Africa’s most populated countries, bursting with 150 million people. Over 500 different languages are identified among these people, and over half of Nigerians cannot speak English, let alone read or understand it. 300 languages still wait to read and understand Christ’s message of salvation in their native tongue.

Including Nigeria, Wycliffe Associates estimates there are about 500 Bible translation locations currently in desperate need of Translation Acceleration Kits. But the precious equipment doesn’t come without a price. One kit alone costs $3,500. Wycliffe Associates is currently raising funds to produce more and speed up the process of translation.

“Earlier this year,” says Smith, “Wycliffe Associates connected Nigerian translation teams in 42 communities. Each Internet connection could speed the completion of a New Testament translation by two years.”

To support translation efforts through Wycliffe Associates, click here .

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