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  • God Is on the Move: Changing the Landscape of Deaf Bible Translation

    by Adan Burke with Melissa Paredes, Wycliffe US In 2020 an exciting milestone was reached in the world of Bible translation when the American Sign Language Version (ASLV) of the Bible was completed! After nearly 20 years of work, Deaf Missions and partner organizations finished the complete translation — making ASL the first sign language to have the whole Bible.* With only one full sign language Bible complete, the Deaf represent the largest unreached people group in the world. Today there are more than 350 sign languages known around the world representing 70 million signers. Of this population, less than 2% have encountered Jesus in a language and format they clearly understand. With only one full sign language Bible complete, the Deaf represent the largest unreached people group in the world. But God is on the move, and technology is being developed that could change the landscape of Deaf Bible translation for sign languages around the world. Adan Burke is a sign language partnership specialist at Wycliffe Bible Translators USA. His life was changed when he encountered Jesus through Scripture in a language and format he could clearly understand: ASL. Today Adan plays a vital role in Deaf Bible translation. Read on and learn from Adan as he shares about this exciting new technology called Chameleon! Chameleon: Changing the Way the Deaf Community Discovers Jesus When I was two years old, my parents discovered I was Deaf. With Christ at the center of our home, it wasn’t long before they found a Deaf church for me to attend — ensuring I had access to God’s Word at a young age. By the age of seven, I had accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, thanks partly to this community of Christian signers. In my work with the global Deaf community, I’ve discovered that less than 2% of the Deaf identify as followers of Jesus. But new technology offered by Wycliffe Bible Translators and our global partners is trying to change that. A new form of motion capture technology can now transform the way we present Scripture to a person who is Deaf. Dubbed “Chameleon” by its creators, the technology features a digital avatar — or animated character — who signs the Bible to the viewer. Sign language Scriptures are delivered in a video format, with someone signing the translated message in the unique sign language utilized by individual people groups. The Chameleon technology captures the movements of a person signing Scripture and converts their appearance to an avatar. Groundbreaking for the global Deaf community, Chameleon is digital, changeable and protects the translator’s identity. Since the invention of sign language, people have been signing to one another in the Deaf community. Unfortunately, in the work of Deaf Bible translation, the person presenting the sign language is automatically associated with the Scripture they are depicting. Using an avatar removes connection to the individual and instead highlights the message. This removes the risk that a signer’s lifestyle, choices or beliefs could ever compromise, and therefore devalue, the Bible’s message. No human is visibly attached to the Scripture verse. The Chameleon technology captures the movements of a person signing Scripture and converts their appearance to an avatar. For years, I have worked as a signer in Deaf Bible translation. People know me as the “Jesus guy” or the guy who signs for Jesus. In fact, the Good Friday passage is one of the most viewed ASL Scripture, and I’m the Jesus guy telling the story of His crucifixion and resurrection. But my goal is for viewers to focus on what the Bible is saying, not on me. Chameleon offers that. Chameleon’s avatar technology also transcends race and culture. As a white man, if I sign the book of Mark, for example, and present it to another culture, I don’t want that culture to assume the Scripture is merely the “white man’s beliefs.” Chameleon’s avatar technology removes that notion, allowing the viewer to convert the avatar to one presenting as from their own culture and nationality — making the translator’s appearance anonymous but identifiable. Using an avatar also protects the translator from incrimination. Some Christians live in places hostile to the gospel. Filming someone in one of these countries while they are signing the Bible can be dangerous. The avatar allows sign language to be presented in countries unfriendly to the Bible while protecting the person responsible for the translation. A win for the Deaf community, Chameleon has taken Bible translation to the next level. Deaf Bible translation requires capturing the intricate details of a rich, visual language as signers are filmed providing the translation. Each gesture and facial expression must accurately and authentically convey the message of Scripture. Any mistake or adjustment currently requires another round of filming, and the process goes on until a passage is approved. But with Chameleon, changes can be made and digitally applied in multiple passages! This is similar to the ability to selectively replace a single word or phrase in Microsoft Word across an entire document. Chameleon allows similar editing and revision. Chameleon now provides the opportunity to get God’s Word into the hands of one of the most unreached people groups across the globe. The core of Chameleon, the avatar, has been in the works for more than 10 years by multiple groups and partners, so it’s not entirely new. As a steward of the technology, Wycliffe has helped it across the finish line. Moving forward, the goal is to have the system in use worldwide. The Deaf community has not always been prioritized in terms of technology until recent years. The global effort that led to the development of Chameleon now provides the opportunity to get God’s Word into the hands of one of the most unreached people groups across the globe. Philippians 2:11 reminds us that one day “every tongue [will] declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (NLT). Chameleon advances this truth allowing a previously sidelined group more immediate access to the God of the ages who changes lives. This is the heart of the Great Commission. Every people group worldwide deserves the opportunity to access and engage with the gospel; the Deaf are no exception. I am excited to share this innovative technology with the global Deaf community and witness more people come into a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ because of it. *This is based on the translation standards established by the Forum of Bible Agencies International. The American Sign Language Bible was completed by Deaf Missions in collaboration with partners like American Bible Society, Seed Company, DOOR International, Deaf Bible Society, Pioneer Bible Translators and Wycliffe Bible Translators USA. Chameleon is an innovative technology that has the potential to change the landscape of Deaf Bible translation! Watch this demo video for a glimpse behind the scenes of Chameleon, and join us in praying that God would utilize this technology to accelerate the pace of Deaf Bible translation around the world. Reproduced with permission from Wycliffe US

  • Some Scripture Engagement Products

    Bible translation projects don’t just stop at translating and distributing the Bible. Every translation project also involves “Scripture Engagement” or “Scripture Use” elements: enabling and encouraging people to meet God and deepen their relationship with Him as they understand and interact with the Scriptures. This is not limited to the printed form only; with modern technology, the materials are often in audio or video form. The projects supported by the R200 Programme aim to produce a range of different Scripture-based materials and promote their use in the communities and local churches. One project in produces Sunday school materials, Bible storybooks, Big Books, audio CDs with original Christian songs, still picture videos, etc. They also train and equip neighbouring language groups to do the same. A video prepared for children: Jesus restores a demon-possessed man (Luke 8:26-39) Another project has produced Bible story books like this: Jesus calms the storm (Luke 8:22-25)

  • ‘What your team has done for our Father and his kingdom’

    by Alfred Thompson, Wycliffe UK ‘Forgive me for getting a bit emotional; I just couldn’t believe that your colleagues would spend many years working on a Nastaliq-style Arabic digital font with the hope that Scripture might be translated into this language one day. The devotion, commitment, and sacrifices are what we won’t be able to find in our business and social enterprise. I have the utmost respect and appreciation for what your team has done for our Father and his kingdom! Thank you!’ So said a potential new funding partner in the middle of a meeting in Asia last year. The font she was talking about is called Awami Nastaliq, and it was developed by the Writing Systems Technology team of Wycliffe’s main partner, SIL International. Awami Nastaliq is an Arabic-script font specifically intended for a wide variety of languages of Southwest Asia. Awami is an Urdu word meaning ‘of the people’ and Nastaliq is the name given to the sloping style of Arabic writing which is based on a centuries-old calligraphic tradition and, because of its beauty, has sometimes been called the ‘bride of calligraphy.’ Its sloping beauty (see the image, right) means that it is a much more complex font to render on computers than the flat Naskh-style Arabic font. Peter Martin, who is based in Scotland, was the type designer for Awami Nastaliq, working alongside programmer colleagues Sharon Correll (USA) and Martin Hosken (Asia) to produce the correct shaping for the slope of the font, while avoiding any overlapping of dots and diacritics – no small task. ‘When people start typing the first letter it starts on the base line, but then when the second letter is typed, the first one gets pushed up in the air so the second character is on the base line,’ Peter explains. ‘And that dancing effect continues as the word gets longer. It is bamboozling the first time you see it, but as you work on it, your eye adapts to it and you realise the beauty of it.’ A flat Naskh-style Arabic character usually needs around four shapes to enable it to be typed, but a Nastaliq character typically has more than 20 shapes as it is so fluid and complex. ‘For me as a designer,’ Peter notes, ‘it was very, very daunting. It is by far the most complex project I have ever worked on.’ Peter explains why he does this work: ‘We see font development as primarily a critical component of Bible translation and literacy. However, it is also a service to the wider community in that it is enabling that culture to have a voice in communications – you can’t print books or newspapers, use a mobile phone, or email, or have a website in your language if you don’t have a font for it.’ The Writing Systems Technology team give away for free the fonts they develop, to fulfil this service to the wider community. ‘A number of our fonts have been added to the Google fonts library which gives them huge exposure,’ Peter notes. ‘People download an unbelievable number of our fonts – hundreds of thousands of times. So as well as Bible translation, our fonts are being used for tens of millions of webpages around the world to enable communication that otherwise couldn’t happen in that language.’

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  • Wycliffe Singapore

    Translating the word, Transforming the W orld Give Our Mission Upcoming Events Browse All Stories from the Field: Tropical Paradise in the South Tue, Jul 04 Zoom Jul 04, 8:00 PM – 9:30 PM GMT+8 Zoom How can one believe in Jesus if they have not heard the gospel? And how can they hear without someone telling them? Saifon shares her experience in finding new strategies to reach an unreached people group (UPG) in Thailand, where most people have never heard the gospel. Register now! Culture Meets Scripture Workshop 2023 Fri, Aug 04 Grace (SCC) Church Aug 04, 9:00 AM – 5:30 PM GMT+8 Grace (SCC) Church, 14 Queen St, Singapore 188536 What do we do when our cultural values and practices clash with Biblical teachings? How do we advise new believers? Join us for our Culture meets Scripture Workshop, designed to help believers uncover their culture's assumptions and beliefs, and equip them with tips to make godly choices. Register now! Our Vision To see lives and communities transformed through a deeper encounter with the Word of God. 1.45 billion people don't have a full Bible in their language 128 million people don't have any Scripture in their language 74.2 million people are still at the initial stages of Bible translation Source: Wycliffe Global Alliance , October 2022. Read more . The Need The minority groups that need Bible translation the most are often those who are overlooked and forgotten. But God has commanded us to reach out to ‘all the nations’. Minority peoples are just as important to God as larger people groups. Because God cares about the last, the least and the lost. Learn More Featured People Group The Rakhine People Although 89% of Bangladeshi people identify as Muslim, most Rakhine people are Buddhist. For generations they have remained faithful to their Buddhist traditions, even claiming to be the first followers of Gautama Buddha in all of Southeast Asia. Learn More Stories Browse All 3 days ago 5 min God Is on the Move: Changing the Landscape of Deaf Bible Translation A new technological development in Bible translation called Chameleon captures a person signing Scripture and converts it into an avatar. May 28 1 min Some Scripture Engagement Products Bible translation projects don’t just stop at translating and distributing the Bible, they also involve “Scripture Engagement" elements. May 21 2 min ‘What your team has done for our Father and his kingdom’ ‘We see font development as primarily a critical component of Bible translation and literacy’ 1 2 3 4 5 WHAT PEOPLE SAY Clemence, serving in Asia Translating the Word of God, Transforming the Souls of Man - It has been an incredible journey to be part of a movement that invests in the only two things that last for eternity - the Word of God and the souls of man. Shu Yun, serving in Asia It's a privilege to see God at work in people! We live in exciting times, seeing His Spirit move in communities which had long resisted Him. Let us therefore not tarry, but move in His Spirit to pray, give and serve! How Can I Help? Wycliffe welcomes everyone of all ages and backgrounds to serve together in this work! Pray Commit yourself, your church or cell group to partner with our missionaries and pray regularly for them. Serve We have internships, short-term and long-term roles in both language and support areas. Whatever your experience, there is something you can do! Give At Wycliffe, we depend on the financial support of partners who want to be the vital link to our work both in Singapore and overseas.

  • Stay Connected | Wycliffe Singapore

    Stay Connected Stay connected with Wycliffe Singapore and get the latest updates! Sign up for our mailing list, follow us on social media, and join our online community to stay up-to-date on all of our activities. Sign up with any of the options below and get connected today! To receive our updates via email, fill out the form below to get added to our mailing list! To receive our updates via WhatsApp, click on this link or scan the QR code to send us an automated request message to be added to the WhatsApp broadcast list. We will then respond to you with a message containing the following steps to be taken: Save our mobile number to your contacts However, if you wish to use a different number to receive our broadcast messages, please provide us with your preferred number and save our number on the phone that uses that number. Otherwise, type "NA". Once the above steps have been completed, respond to our message to you in WhatsApp with a thumbs up. To receive our updates via Telegram, click on this link or scan the QR code to be directed to join the Telegram Channel!

  • Programmes | Wycliffe Singapore

    Programmes Are you looking for training programmes that can help your church members to grow in their understanding and skills? Here are some customisable programmes that we provide to help you or your church in the area of missions. We also organise events which are available to all churches. Contact us to find out more 101: Mission Awareness Programme Missions Talk Talks on a wide range of mission topics. Details can be worked out with the Wycliffe team. Missions Sermon Sermons from the pulpit by qualified speakers and missionaries. Sharing about Wycliffe A brief sharing to the congregation or to a smaller group about the work of Wycliffe. Missions Booth Set up a missions display on your premises during Mission Emphasis weeks. This booth features ethnic handicrafts, giveaways such as flyers and magazines, and books for sale. Children's programme A children's programme for your Sunday School to help your kids learn about Bible translation and missions. The Journey A simulation programme for all ages. In just 5 hours, participants vividly experience many of the processes a missionary would go through to prepare for the field. *Minimum 100 participants 101+: Mission Development Programme Brief training for cross-cultural ministry This is a two- to three-hour programme for people who are going for a mission trip or for those who are involved in cross-cultural ministry in Singapore, e.g., with migrant workers. Introduction to Linguistics and Literacy A one-hour taster on linguistics and literacy, which can be a module in a longer programme or conference about missions. Introduction to Bible translation work A two- to three-hour taster on Bible translation work. It can be a module in a longer programme about missions, or for anyone who is exploring Bible translation as a career. Mentoring programme A small group mentoring programme for people who are considering becoming missionaries. 102: Mission Involvement Programme Adopt a project Churches or individuals can be part of the ministry of reaching the minority people groups by adopting a project. You may do so by praying and/or giving to one of our projects. Mission Trip Wycliffe can organize mission trips for your church members to experience first-hand what God is doing among minority people groups. Our annual Camp Wycliffe is also highly recommended for those who are keen to learn more about missions. Short-term Mission Programme Short-term postings for those considering cross-cultural work as a career. Postings from one month to two years can be arranged for interested individuals.

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