How Technology Helped One Translator in Africa
In Angola, vital Bible translation resources help God’s Word reach native speakers quicker than ever.
Pastor Albertino Nunes glances up from his laptop at his two colleagues seated across the table. Bright office lights gleam off of the laptops of his coworkers as they type, diligently translating the Bible into their Angolan tongue of Umbundu. Their task is urgent; 6 million Umbundu speakers have no Scripture Portions in their heart language. At the end of the day, Albertino saves their work in a cloud-based translation software and heads home.
But for Albertino and his Bible translation team, this workday is anything but typical. “We used to work by candlelight,” recalls Albertino. Not that long ago, he and his fellow translators would huddle around a single keyboard, taking turns typing out their interpretations. To top it all off, the translation work itself was often a frustrating, trial-and-error process without any professional guidance.
“An enormous step has been taken,” says Albertino, reflecting on those candlelit translation sessions. Funding from American Bible Society’s financial partners has totally transformed Albertino’s workday. “Now we have offices where we work…everyone has their own computers,” he explains.
In addition to state-of-the-art technology, Albertino and his team receive state-of-the-art training in Bible translation from industry experts. “We don’t just have to learn from our errors,” says Albertino, “Each translator knows how to proceed.”
Despite these advances to efficiently get God’s Word to Umbundu-speakers, serious hurdles remain. “One of the biggest challenges that we have in this African context is that we are now in an economical crisis,” explains Albertino. The capital city of Angola, Luanda, is infamously the most expensive city in the world. And recent financial pressures have left translators worried that they will not complete their long-awaited Bible translation as quickly as they hope. “We want to finish the New Testament, maybe this year,” says Albertino.
Facing these new challenges, Albertino is hopeful. “There are many difficulties,” he admits, “but many of them have already been solved.” With continued financial support, Albertino and his team will soon see the day they have waited for all their lives—when their fellow Angolans encounter God’s Word in their heart language for the first time. “We are so happy,” says Albertino, “We are so grateful.”
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