Back to France

IMG_20160414_130036

Jeff and his team have been working on upgrading computers for Wycliffe offices around Europe to Windows 10.  So, this brought us back to the Wycliffe France office for a week.  I was able to come along to spend some time talking with the director about communications strategy.

We stayed in the little attic apartment at the office. It’s way up at the top of the building, and it’s only windows are sky-lights.

IMG_20160414_194846

The office is in the city of Valence.  The trees were all in bloom, and we could smell spring in the air.

IMG_20160415_125420

It’s an old city with a history stretching back to Roman times.  While Christianity has been in France for a long time, those practicing their faith are very few.  Protestants account for about 3% of the population. However, Wycliffe France still has more than 40 staff working worldwide serving in Bible translation.

Read More

Multilingual Computing

IMG_20160210_163930

 

Computer support in Europe means needing to navigate operating systems in different languages – at least 14 of them!  That’s how many languages are used by the Wycliffe Global Alliance organizations in Europe supported by the IT team Jeff is on.

He’s had to learn a few translation hacks to work on computers across the continent.

  • Google Translate: This is an obvious one.  While Google translate usually isn’t a great tool for translating complicated texts, it does fairly well with operating system terms like “start”, “menu”, “continue”, and the like.  And, it also helps with simple text conversations with users who need computer help.
  • Word Lens: This is the program Jeff is using in the photo.  Using the camera on your phone, Word Lens will translate the text on your screen in real time.  It’s not perfect, but good for the simple stuff. This has recently been incorporated into the Google Translate app.
  • Google Chrome web browser: Translation is one of the built in features of this web browsing application. Again, if you expect a rough translation, it can be fairly useful to help you get the gist of things you may need to view in other languages on websites.

These tools are great when you are working in languages that have software written for them.  But, for the many small language communities where Wycliffe works translating the Bible, these tools simply wouldn’t work.  That’s because the Bible may be the first piece of literature these communities have ever had in their own language.

Along with the translation of the Bible, many communities will work on dictionaries, writing down their history, folk tales, poetry, medical or farming information, educational curriculum and more.  As a matter of fact, the more literature a community has in their language,  the more likely literacy is to take hold in a community. Who knows – someday, some of these communities may have their own translation of the Windows operating system, too!

Read More

Merry Christmas!

Kandern

One of the things I love about this region are the Christmas decorations.  Even every little village has some kind of Christmas decor.  The main street in the city where we live is always full of Christmas trees and lights.  It’s so beautiful.

IMG_20151215_171102Since we’ve been here we’ve had a real Christmas tree each year.  I love the smell of the evergreen inside.  Thankfully, the cat doesn’t seem at all interested in the tree!

IMG_20151223_174127

Another great part of the holiday season here is cheese.  Since we live very close to Switzerland, we also get  fondue and raclette (two different kinds of melted cheese).  Raclette is available at the local Christmas markets, but you can also do it at home.  We haven’t done that, yet.  However we have taken advantage of the prepackaged fondue.  Yum!

Read More

Integrating Faith and Life

CommMtgs02

Last week I was in meetings outside of London with some members of our communications team.  We went on an outing towards the end which included a stop at The Church of All Souls, and a visit with an organization connected to the churched called the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity.

CommMtgs

The institute exists to help equip people to integrate their Christian faith with their life – a concept they call whole life discipleship.  They talked with us about a new program they developed called Life on the Frontline.  Have a look at the video below to learn more.

Programs like this help people live out the messages of Scripture, and that ties right in with one of Wycliffe’s desires – not just that people will have God’s word in their language, but that they will use and apply it to their lives.

Read More