International (MNN) — Over the last month, a number of nations have made claim to housing the seven-billionth person in the world. Whoever is truly the seven-billionth, the fact is the world is growing–and fast.
Bruce Smith, President and CEO of Wycliffe Associates, says the "seven-billionth" report has just been a reminder of how important Bible translation is.
"About 5 billion of those people are still without Christ, and over one billion of them have inadequate Scriptures to even begin to understand who Christ is," points out Smith.
In these days of high speed internet and technology, Bible translation is much more quickly than it did in years past. As nationals from various hard-to-reach countries get involved, the work moves even faster.
"When you have good counsel and good consultants along with good resources and training, you're able to get into the translation process sooner," explains Smith. "Instead of taking 30-35 years for a New Testament translation to be completed, in many cases the national Christians are doing translations in about eight years."
It's enormous progress, but Wycliffe Associates has actually implanted an even faster way to move translation along .Translation Acceleration Kits have now been installed in about 57 locations.
What is a Translation Acceleration Kit?
"It's just our way of describing a satellite modem that allows translation teams anywhere in the world to connect to the internet for the purposes of trading e-mails and translation files with their teammates," explains Smith.
Essentially, it brings internet connection to the most remote areas. It even has the capacity to bring this technology to regions without electricity. That way, national translators are able to communicate with other translators elsewhere on a daily basis, rather than just whenever they are able to get to an internet café.
This daily interaction increases the camaraderie built between teammates, resulting in more corrections and refined quality of translations. But daily contact can also decrease the translation time by two years.
Translations that previously took 30 years now take eight. But with a Translation Acceleration Kit, those same translations are down to about six years.
The technology is revolutionizing Bible translation to reach more people with the Word at a quicker pace — a necessity as the world population continues to grow. It's all done in a fairly cost-effective manner as well. Each satellite modem is about $1,700 — a considerably low fee considering effectiveness of the device to bring the Gospel to millions.
Wycliffe Associates currently has 57 Acceleration Kits installed, but they could use many more. To help in this effort to spread the Good News to all nations, visit wycliffeassociates.org or call 1-800-THE-WORD.