Google still has a long way to go

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Google now has a homepage for its search engine in Swahili: http://www.google.co.tz/

According to this page Google has translated at least 1% of its main site in 152 languages. Not bad, especially considering that these languages are spoken by several billion people worldwide.

According to Wycliffe Bible Translators, the most translated book of all time, the Bible, has been translated into 438 languages. Another 2,016 have at least some of the Bible translated into them.

But that leaves over 2,200 with a need for Bible translation and no project yet started. Many of these languages don’t have a written form, so in order for the Bible, Google or any other text to be translated and written down, an alphabet and writing system must first be developed.

The efforts of Google and others (like Ubuntu, who are currently translating into 189 languages) are to be applauded, and will make their products accessible to the vast majority of people worldwide. But for the Bible, a message from God’s heart to man’s heart, it’s not enough to translate into the 150 or 200 most major languages in the world.

Rather, the message of God’s good news to all nations must be made available to each and every person in the language of their heart, however uneconomical it may seem. No businessman would ever translate his product into a language spoken by 100 people in a village in Papua New Guinea – it just doesn’t make business sense. But then not many shepherds would leave 99 sheep on their own in order to search for the one sheep that wandered astray.

Which is why the Bible will always be the most translated book. God has created each and every person uniquely and loves them just as they are. He will stop at no lengths to draw each person to himself. If we are to reflect God’s character as we join in with his mission to the world, we must make the Bible available to every person in their own heart language.

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2 Responses to “Google still has a long way to go”

  1. Andrew S Says:

    Does Wycliffe have a library of translated Bibles? Would make some interesting photos if they did. 438 languages total – and how many times have the most common languages (esp English and German) been done?

    (Does Google have any planes for the KJV version? Say, kjv.google.com, “Search thee thy Google”, “I feel Blesséd” etc)

  2. Mark Says:

    Laura says “Andrew… what a witty little man…!” Very funny…

    Wycliffe doesn’t have a library of translated Bibles, at least not in the UK. But I think there are moves to have as much scripture as possible accessible in electronic format fairly soon.

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