Tag Archives: India

Training–Challenges and Blessings

This past week, our Indian colleagues here in Bangalore walked us through the steps of Bible translation,  and together we identified which Paratext functions are used by the mother tongue translators at each specific point in the process. Then we created sample web-based video and paper training materials. These were translated into Malayalam and Hindi, two of the major languages of India.

Later in the week, we met with a group of about a dozen mother tongue translators for them to put the training materials to the test. We used this time to observe and evaluate. Some issues were identified that need fixing, but the translators, translation project facilitators and coordinators were enthusiastic about what has been done so far. Please pray for everyone involved in developing these materials so the end result will be effective in training the translators.


Larry, from the training department at Wycliffe Associates, captures an audio recording of a training module script. This audio in the Malayalam language was combined with the video to create a training module.


While Larry worked on video training modules, Russ and I prepared printed materials that cover the same topics as the videos.

Young girls on video training

These girls learn Bible translation software via video using audio translated in their mother tongue. Next, they will compare the video training with paper training. It didn't take long to see their enthusiasm after hearing the audio in their own language!

Training via paper lesson

The young girls now take the same lesson via paper (including many screen shots). The results of the training and their feedback will help us adapt the training process to better serve their specific needs.

Evaluating learning process

I stood over top of the girls' shoulders and observed their learning via both the video and the paper lessons and reported back to Larry. The feedback proved to be valuable in adapting future lessons.


Mother tongue translators test a video training module that teaches how to use special software for Bible translation.

This afternoon (Sunday, April 15th) we fly to New Delhi to spend four days with another Indian organization also involved in Bible translation. Larry will be testing a different set of training materials with their translation teams, while Russ and I focus on training two of their new computer support staff so they will be prepared to support Bible translators. We plan to fly back to Bangalore on Thursday evening, wrap up here on Friday, and head home that night after midnight.

Traveling to a foreign culture has its’ own set of challenges. But, working with our Indian colleagues and watching the excitement of having Bible translation training materials in their mother tongue, knowing that it will help them become more efficient translators, easily overcomes them all.

Thank you for praying. And, thank you as well for being a part of the Bible translation team. We are an encouragement to our brothers and sisters all around the world and surely are accelerating Bible translation, the process of putting God’s Word in the Bibleless people of the world.

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Posted by on April 14, 2012 in India, NLCI


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Bible Translation–Mission Impossible Style

“Your task, Mother Tongue Translator, is to translate each book of the New Testament into your language, that which speaks to your heart. If you choose to accept it, the work will be difficult and time-consuming, but the completed task has the potential to save many, many lives. The message, unlike Ethan Hunt’s, will not NOT self-destruct in 10 seconds, but instead, may leave a legacy for years to come. Good luck.”

If you took the challenge where would you begin to translate the New Testament?

12 Steps of Translation

12 Steps of Bible Translation

The Bible translation task has many challenging steps to it and one needs to be thorough in each. But, although you may not be versed (no pun intended) in the Bible translation process itself, the chances are you bring some prerequisite skills to the table.  At the very least, you know how to turn a computer on, use a mouse, and open and close programs. But, what if you had never touched a computer or, better yet, even seen one? Where do we begin training mother tongue translators, committed to bringing God’s Word to their people group, that are just like this? Where do we begin?

We begin with small steps, first teaching very basic computer utilization skills. Using Solitaire or computer games to teach mouse skills, and then progressing to how to use Bible translation programs like Paratext, specifically designed for that purpose.

Today, we walked through the steps of the translation process and identified which Paratext functions are used by the Mother Tongue Translators at each specific point in the process. The next step will be to create web-based or paper training material for them. Benjamin, our Indian colleague,  did a great job leading the discussions.



Our Indian colleagues are working under some very challenging conditions. Jayakumar (shown below displaying a Paratext feature) and Benjamin (above) are the only two computer support staff providing technical support to 22 language projects. That means that these two servants provide language and computer technical support to a total of 45 translators and 12 to 15 Language Project Facilitators & Language Project Coordinators. Additionally, they provide technical support to office staff who use multiple office computers.



This is why we’re here. Lending a hand, coming along side, and supporting. Just like you do for us. Thanks for praying.


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India – Day 2

Woke up this morning at 4:30 AM and couldn’t get back to sleep. I’m still jet-lagged so I could have used the sleep. On the other hand, the hour in the morning allowed me some uninterrupted time alone with God and in my Bible. An hour of reading God’s Word and prayer is so refreshing that it makes me wonder why I don’t MAKE time for it more often. Wish I had an answer.

My colleagues and I starting our meetings today with our Indian counterparts. Each day starts out with a 20 minute devotion, today’s being from Luke 20:19-20, which follows the parable of wicked tenants. We were broken into four groups thereafter, each group given a series of thought-provoking questions to answer. My group was given the following ones, worthy of repeating here…

  1. What makes a church or an individual Christian throw away the capstone of their faith?
  2. What did Jesus want to say to the leaders of the Christian church through this parable?
  3. What does Jesus want to say to you and I personally through this parable?

One of our colleagues sharing a parable from Luke 20:19-20 using pictures to represent the major points of the story

I won’t share some of the answers they came up with but challenge you to think them through on your own. I can say with all integrity though, that some of the comments from my Indian colleagues really got me to thinking and challenged my socks off.

How does one write a thrilling blog entry about a meeting? Doesn’t seem too exciting today from my perspective. Writing about a meeting never is. This is until you realize who’s across the table from you and the long-term impact of what we’re trying to accomplish for God’s Kingdom. Then, what can compare?

Language Project Facilitators

Larry Sallee, a WA trainer, discusses training techniques with our counterparts that are responsible for one or more mother tongue translators.

Ken overlooking Larry's shoulder

I am looking over Larry's shoulder as he demonstrates web-based training modules designed to teach Bible translation software utilization to mother tongue translators and their coordinators.


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India – Day 1

My colleague and I departed home for the Charlotte airport on Good Friday, April 6, around 10:15 AM for our 1:45 flight. First stop – Cincinnati where I have the privilege of sharing a meal with my daughter and son-in-law, Christine and Dan. What a blessing to spend even a precious hour with them. Next stop – Paris.

We depart for Paris, arriving there around 8:30 AM, sleepy and stiff, after an 8.5 hour flight. As short and stocky as I am, I find it difficult to difficult to sleep on the plane. I can’t imagine how tall people have to bend their bodies to adjust to the limited space!

The third leg of the journey is the Paris to Bangalore flight, another 9.5 hours. Already somewhat tired, we arrive at 11:35 PM. We are dead last to proceed through immigration, and pick up our luggage. By the time we  drive from the airport to the hotel, it’s 1:30 AM. I take a quick, cool, shower and place this weary body in the bed some time around 2:00 AM Bangalore time. Total flight time is estimated to be 19.5 hours; total travel time approximately to 24 or more. One looses count after a while as time and space start blending together.

Breakfast is delivered to the door at 8:30 AM. Although not much to look at, a fried egg, toast, and coffee never tasted so good!



Although I’ve experienced this in other locations I’ve lived so one would think that I am used to it but I find that a quick walk down the street easily assaults the senses. Traffic jams, honking horns, broken sidewalks, temples, food vendors, and you name it line the streets. I have to be keenly aware of my surroundings. Indians drive on the left side of the road so being especially careful to cross the street is a must.

Hindu temple

Hindu temple

Roadside Chicken coop

Roadside Chicken coop

Road outside hotel

Road outside hotel

Tonight I’ll experience another first – riding in the three wheeled green and yellow cart seen in the picture above – as we travel to the local Kentucky Fried Chicken. Can’t wait.

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Posted by on April 8, 2012 in India, Wycliffe Associates


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Ken is on his way to India

I just dropped Ken and his colleague, Russ Perry, off at the Charlotte airport. They are on their way to India! This is a first trip to that large country for Ken. They plan on visiting two Indian organizations. We are partnering with them to provide IT technical support for 50 new Bible translation projects that are starting there.  Those 50 new projects represent 45% of the remaining translation needs in India!

Russ wrote on his blog: “One organization has asked us to help them develop training methods and materials that will be used to teach mother tongue translators how to use a computer program that was created specifically for translating the Bible. The other organization has asked us to help train their technicians who will provide computer support for mother tongue translators. Please pray that solid relationships will be formed, that we will communicate well, and that God will guide our partnership team to the most effective ways to provide the training to those who need it.”

They return home in two weeks. We’ll try to keep you updated as I hear from Ken. Thanks for praying!


Posted by on April 6, 2012 in Ken, Tech Support, Wycliffe Associates


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Bible Translation – Adjusting to the Times

We often hear that the times when Bible translators moves to a foreign (and often times remote) country, lives there for twenty years, studies the local language, produces an alphabet, and translates the Bible has come to an end. There are fewer individuals entering full-time missionary service, the process often takes fifteen to twenty years, and countries are more reticent to allow foreigners to live and remain in their country for such a sustained length of time. So, what’s the answer?

What alternatives exist allowing for the Bible translation such that the Bibleless people of the world can read the Scriptures in their mother tongue, the language that speaks to the heart?  

Sitting around computer

We know of at least one! Enter in “crowdsourcing“. Crowdsourcing leverages collaborative technology and uses the knowledge and skills of many people for a single task. “Does it work?”, you might ask. Well, you be the judge.

The Seed Company launched CrowdSeedTM a Bible translation crowdsourcing pilot in India, in May 2011. And the results have been phenomenal. Don’t take my word for it though. Click here and read the article for yourself.

You’ve undoubtedly heard it said that “when man closes a window, God opens a door.” I believe this is just one of those times. How about you?

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Posted by on March 2, 2012 in The Seed Company, Website


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REAL Distance Learning

I woke up halfway and turned over in my bed. Glancing at the clock I read, “2:30 AM”. Wow! Ken sure was getting to bed late. But if you live in India, it was midday and time to be working!

Ken had just finished connecting with some of our co-workers who live halfway around the world. They were interested in learning more about the help desk program called “Spiceworks” that Ken and Wycliffe Associates have been using. It’s free and an effective tool for managing technical support needs, increasingly more important as we, and our national colleagues, rely on computers and computers systems for our daily lives. Could this program be a good fit for them?

Ken’s boss asked him if he’d be willing to do a training session for some of the staff in India and a time was set –  9:30 AM India time. Since the East Coast of the US is 9.5 hours behind India, Ken stayed up late the night before so he could remotely connect with our Indian colleagues.

Sometimes we need to connect with people from home.

At 12:15 AM he made a connection with them. Using Skype for audio and Bomgar remote control for video, he configured the program for presentation mode enabling the staff in India to view his laptop. He demonstrated how Spiceworks  works and answered their many questions. Skype dropped the audio connection at 1:45 AM and rather than our Indian colleagues attempting to reconnect, they sent Ken the following chat text –

“Go to bed, Ken. It’s 2:30 AM there and we have a good idea where we’re headed with this program. Thanks for your help.” Ken crawled into bed tired but satisfied knowing that he helped a partner Bible translation organization with their tech needs while helping them become one step to sustainability.

With Ken’s education background, teaching comes naturally. In fact, it’s fun! When you use the gifts that come naturally for you, it doesn’t even feel like work.

And so a connection was made…literally and figuratively, with a new group of people that we may have a long-term relationship with. Thank you for enabling us to connect with others each day as we serve with Wycliffe!

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Posted by on September 7, 2011 in Application, Ken, Wycliffe Associates


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