Photo contributed by Kent Schoeder
NAIROBI, KENYA—Eight language software trainees and consultants from various parts of Africa came to Kenya October 12-30, 2009 to participate in SIL* Africa area’s first Language Software Consultant Training Course taught in English. The course was led by Kent Schroeder, language software consultant, and Doug Higby, language software coordinator. It is being planned as an annual event. Higby has previously taught the course in French to colleagues from French-speaking countries.
In Africa, linguistic computer consultants are few, communications resources are sometimes limited and staff are spread across large geographical distances, sometimes in remote areas. This course brought consultants and trainees to one place to get the information they needed, so that they can then train linguist, literacy and translation staff in their regions. Participants received training in using and supporting a collection of software programs available to translation, literacy and linguist staff, and discussed strategies for how to most effectively use each program. Some programs have been upgraded, so participants received the information they needed to smoothly transition themselves and others to newer software tools. Every participant left the course with an eight-gigabyte flashdrive with all of the language software they need to install and troubleshoot. They can refresh their knowledge by reviewing regularly updated course materials on-line.
“The consultant training program is not just about the workshop. These eight people have all committed themselves to a consultant development path and our goal is to help them excel in language technology. The course instructors are available to the students at any moment via email, Skype, and user groups,” said Higby.
Linguistic computing is a critical component of translation and language development projects. Software programs help linguists and Bible translators store, sort, compare, and analyze data and then prepare it for publication. This helps linguists focus their efforts on less tedious and repetitive tasks, and it can take years off of the total time of a Bible translation program. SIL’s linguistic computing staff have developed more than 60 pieces of linguistics related software, and they continue to develop more.
In Wycliffe linguistic computing is part of the information technology domain. Wycliffe needs more individuals with IT skills to serve in open positions available around the world. See what kinds of jobs are available.
*SIL International is an affiliate organization of Wycliffe.
Read more about this course.