Archives for 2016

Let’s Celebrate!

This article comes from our Newsletter which comes out 3-4 times per year.  Sign up to receive in your inbox!


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Not to us, O LORD, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness.
Psalm 115:1


The vision of Wycliffe is to see God’s Word made accessible to all people in the language that speaks to their heart. On September 23rd, we paused to celebrate the completion of Bibles and New Testaments for people groups who are getting God’s word for the very first time. You should have been there! Local pastors and ministry representatives paraded into the auditorium amid exciting music and applause carrying the precious Bibles. Here are some interesting statistics about this year’s celebration:

  • 25 languages communities
  • 7 complete Bibles
  • 17 New Testaments
  • 1 “Hybrid Bible” (NT + Genesis + Exodus in Takwane, Leviticus – Malachi in Portuguese — permission of Bible Society of Brazil)
  • 17 of 25 Scriptures available in a digital format
  • 7 of 25 have launched a website
  • 13 available in audio format
  • 7 available in Jesus film, Luke video or Genesis video
  • 7 available as Android or iPhone app
  • 12 are available in the YouVersion Bible App

Statistics are interesting, but read below about one of the language communities that received God’s Word.


The Lahu Si New Testament

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Upai Jasa, Wycliffe Thailand, recalls his reluctance to join the team working on this project.

“The Lahu Si New Testament translation began in the 1980s and by 2009, it was… well, it was a mess. Relationships among the team working on the project were broken, trust was nonexistent, many viewed the Lahu Si community in Thailand as being riddled with divisiveness. They saw Lahu Si churches split over the smallest disagreement, clans and communities also split.”

They had no idea how this project might move forward.  God did.  Read this whole story (and more stories) in the 2016 Scripture Celebration Information Sheets (page 9).

It goes right into my heart!


During our community testing as we were reading through the Lahu Si draft of Acts, a pux (the grandfather) said, “Even though I preach and pray in Lahu Na (a related language) in church, that doesn’t enter my heart as when I normally pray on my own in my own language. When I read the draft it goes right into my heart, as no other language can do.”

Let’s Hack!

This article comes from our Newsletter which comes out 3-4 times per year.  Sign up to receive in your inbox!


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Our team has recently released the first version of the Scripture App Publishing Service which automates the process of publishing Scripture Apps to the Google Play Store.  We currently have 175 apps managed in the Wycliffe Bible Translators, Inc account. However, our first version is only a minimum viable product and has limited workflow process management to handle the interaction between end users, the build infrastructure, and the service administrator.  Only parts of the process can be automated so people have to be involved.

To help accelerate the development of the Scripture App Publishing Service, our team is partnering with Indigitous, a movement passionate about connecting people to Jesus using digital strategies. We have submitted a project to the 2016 Indigitous #Hack, a global missional hackathon focused on solving technology problems related to missions. Are you a software developer? Consider participating in the hackathon which is Nov 4 – 6. There are host cities as well as a virtual group.

At Just the Right Time!

The vision of Wycliffe is to see God’s Word made accessible to all people in the language that speaks to their heart. Usually this might mean distributing a printed book. If there is a low literacy rate, then access to an audio version is important.

Audio versions of the Bible are recorded (often by Faith Comes By Hearing) and can be distributed on dedicated audio players like the Proclaimer. With the availability of smart phones, now a Scripture app created with Scripture App Builder can be distributed with the text and audio of the Bible bundled together.

What about early readers in the people group? Wouldn’t it be great if the text of the passage could be highlighted while the audio is being played?

In order to accomplish this, special timing files have to be created to let the software know which portions of the text and audio go together. Early attempts at this would take 45-60 minutes per chapter! For the Bible en Songoy de Gao App, this took weeks for a team of volunteers (listening to a language they didn’t know) to create these timing files.

Colleagues at Wycliffe searched for another way. Could software automate this process? Praise God, a solution was found! The Aeneas Library allows for the automated creation of the timing files. What used to take almost an hour can now be done in 3-5 seconds! How is this accomplished?

How does this thing work?

One word: Math

One Sentence (Layman Edition): A good deal of math and computer science, a handful of software engineering and some optimization tricks.

One Sentence (Pro Edition): Using the Sakoe-Chiba Band Dynamic Time Warping (DTW) algorithm to align the Mel-frequency cepstral coefficients (MFCCs) representation of the given (real) audio wave and the audio wave obtained by synthesizing the text fragments with a TTS engine, eventually mapping the computed alignment back onto the (real) time domain. 

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Phew! The result is that, now, a whole New Testament can be processed in less than an hour instead of weeks. Wycliffe is preparing to publish hundreds of Scripture apps. Many of them already have audio. This new software process came at just the right time!

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Above: Bible Dedication of the Soŋay Language of Gao, Mali included the Bible en Songoy de Gao App

Right: John 3:16 in Soŋay Language of Gao with text highlighting synchronized with audio

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