Listen to Learn International

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The Need
Think for a moment about the situation typically faced by a young pastor whose birth language is Maasai, or Turkana, or Bari. He or she has a Bible in the vernacular - the national Bible societies and organizations like Wycliffe Bible Translators have done so much - and maybe Faith Comes by Hearing has produced an audio version. There may be some evangelistic materials - at last check, Global Recordings Network had recordings in 5,847 languages! What he doesn't have in his heart language, though, is secondary resources to help him grow spiritually or in his understanding of the Scripture he reads. Not in print, not in audio, not in video. It's an unfortunate gap, when you think of how much such materials contribute to our own spiritual growth.

The Solution
We look forward to the day when mature and skilled Maasai or Turkana believers are writing and recording the teaching their own people need. But in the meantime, L2L wants to provide high-calibre teaching without adding the hurdle of international-language proficiency (or even of literacy, desirable as that is).

Our goal is to create audio libraries of 1000 hours of teaching in each of our target languages. That's four at present (2010), but once the groundwork is done this can be scaled up rapidly to forty or four hundred. These digital libraries can thrive where there are no physical libraries, and will become a lasting legacy for future believers.

These resource banks will offer audio teaching by noted teachers from around the world. They will make available a curriculum of Bible instruction and discipleship training similar to that normally offered in the Bible colleges our students have no hope of attending.

The Process
Our procedure is a dubbing system which leaves every word of the original intact while interpolating phrase-by-phrase translation. The end result sounds as though the teacher has been recorded working with a live translator at his side, though in fact that is a computer-assisted illusion. This process allows us to use the more informal standard of translation associated with live events rather than the rigorous standard of written translation, while keeping accountability in the process by not touching the original.

Our process involves four main steps:

1. Transcription: from prof to print - We prepare an accurate typescript from the audio, and then add annotations to help translators understand hard or technical vocabulary, unfamiliar historical or literary or cultural allusions, or humour that may not work cross-culturally.

2. Segmentation: from print to partition - An editor inserts a beep and a blank space at points through the talk where a live translator would typically intervene - from as short as a single word to a long sentence. A tech editor fine-tunes the spacing left for the translator. This audio is now ready for a translator!

3. Translation: from partition to comprehension - A well-qualified local translator listens to a teaching in a continuous session, alerted by the signals to speak his translations into the blank spaces. A tech editor does some more fine-tuning, editing out the beeps and unnecessary white space while balancing volume between speaker and translator.

4. Distribution: from comprehension to consumption - Tags that make a file recognizable to an MP3 player are added, files organized, and then a semester's worth is transferred to the micro-sd cards or players on which they'll be distributed.


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