People working with Wycliffe are engaged in developing cutting-edge technology. From software that enables translators to work more efficiently, to apps that enable people to listen to and read the translated Bible, to designing fonts so languages can be written and read on screens, to new developments in AI, this technology helps translation teams to accelerate the process of translation and enables more people to engage with the completed translations.
Specific translation software that enables translation teams to compare their draft translation alongside the original languages, and also with translations in other languages, plays a huge role in helping translators produce accurate and clear translations more quickly.
Wycliffe people have also been central in developing Bible apps that translation teams around the world can use. These apps have the written text of the Bible along with the audio recording. The written text is highlighted as it is being read, which also helps in developing people’s literacy skills.
Wycliffe people are also developing cutting-edge fonts technology so that more people can write in their languages – especially ones that have just been written down for the first time – on computers and other screens. A number of these fonts are added to the open-source Google fonts library, which means that they make a huge difference beyond Bible translation in the lives of people speaking those languages. You can read more about this work here.
Wycliffe also has people working on developing AI tools to assist the Bible translation process.
Sometimes people ask why we don’t use Google Translate. Google Translate only supports around 100 of the world’s over 7,000 languages, and works by searching for word patterns in large banks of documents. For many of the languages we are involved with, these banks of data don’t exist, as the language has never been written down before. Even where written documents do exist, Google Translate isn’t complex enough to do an accurate translation of the Bible. While technology is always improving, computer programs continue to struggle with complex grammar structures and words that have more than one sense or meaning, and can tend to produce somewhat robotic-sounding texts.