Sunday, November 27, 2011

Crowd-sourced Bible translation?

Crowd-sourcing is how Wikipedia has produced the largest and--despite areas where certain partisan participants seem to hold sway--one of the most accurate encyclopedias ever produced. (If you're really interested in the subject, see the interminably long article on the subject in Wikipedia itself.)

Well, now The Seed Company has decided to attempt crowd-sourced Bible translation.

From Mission Network News, October 12, 2011:
"We tested a crowd-sourcing Web site in Asia in a difficult-to-access language group, and over 1,000 mother-tongue translators came to the Webpage and participated in this pilot project to help translate chapters of the Book of Luke into their heart language," says The Seed Company president, Roy Peterson. . . .

The Seed Company crowd-sourcing site had 1,000 people translating verses of Scripture, but there actually may have been many more participants. The Seed Company took a trip to the small Asian village where the pilot project took place. The village was peppered with small, dirt-floor homes, and the ministry discovered that those doing the translation were typically young people in their early 20s. The translators would head to an internet café to work, but not alone. Much of the time, they had their entire families with them, adding their input as well.

Participants were also able to give feedback on other verses that people had translated and put up, able to compliment them on a job well done or encourage revision. . . .

"Think back 50 years ago when there was one missionary, all by himself or all by herself, translating, trying to do all 7,000 verses of the New Testament," notes Peterson. "Now picture today, leveraging a crowd-sourcing, Web-based platform and getting 1,000 people, 2,000, or 10,000 from a large people group in Asia, helping to do the New Testament in their heart language."

[As of October 12, the date this article was released], The Seed Company [was] still checking the project over to see if it works well enough to be replicated . . . [and was] hoping to come to a decision [that] week. [They were also] looking for another large Asian language to try this new method of translating Scripture.
Pretty cool!
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