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Global Christianity and the Rise of the Cellphone 559

Posted by timothy
from the 9-billion-names-of-god dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "Alan Jacobs writes in the Atlantic about Every Tribe Every Nation, an organization whose mission is to produce and disseminate Bibles in readable mobile-ready texts for hundreds of languages including Norsk, Potawatomie, Bahasa Indonesia, and Hawai'i Pidgin as the old missionary impulse is being turned towards some extremely difficult technical challenges. The Bible is a large, complicated text containing three quarters of a million words and the typesetting is quite complex because of the wide range of literature types found in scripture and the need for several types of note. 'For all the issues that are still to be solved, ETEN is trying to do things that the world's biggest tech companies haven't cracked yet, such as rendering minority languages correctly on mobile devices,' says Mark Howe. 'There's a unity among Bible translators and publishers that stands in stark contrast to the fractured, fratricidal smartphone industry.' But once these technical challenges are met, it won't be only Bibles only that people can get on their mobile devices, but whole new textual worlds."
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Global Christianity and the Rise of the Cellphone

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  • Leading the way (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rcharbon (123915) on Saturday February 11, 2012 @09:35AM (#39004207) Homepage
    Porn and religion, both a drain on society, but leaders in advancing technology to bring content to the masses.
  • by sakdoctor (1087155) on Saturday February 11, 2012 @09:36AM (#39004213) Homepage

    I wonder how short a religious text could theoretically be, while still sustainably self-replicating between hosts. (i.e. religious believers). Much of the bible is akin to junk DNA.

    • by Ihmhi (1206036) <i_have_mental_health_issues@yahoo.com> on Saturday February 11, 2012 @09:55AM (#39004295)

      Let's find out. I hereby present The Holy Book of the Church of Brevity. Here are its contents:

      Don't be a douchebag.

      Love,
      God

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 11, 2012 @09:38AM (#39004221)

    Bible translation is usually the one taking the big step of documenting a new language and defining a character set for it. So really, this isn't new.

  • Sample Text (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 11, 2012 @09:45AM (#39004243)

    Crowd: OMG 4000 dudes 7 loaves 2 fish
    Jesus: Lotsa food now LOL
    Crowd: WTFBBQ!

  • by sjwt (161428) on Saturday February 11, 2012 @09:48AM (#39004263)

    "There's a unity among Bible translators and publishers that stands in stark contrast to the fractured, fratricidal smartphone industry."

    Which is really and odd statement considering how many different versions their are, sure one might be able to say what 60-80% are version X, but still major fractions happen over the translations.

    • by Rich0 (548339)

      From what I've seen I'd say the unity among Bible translators is probably similar to that among scientists. There aren't a lot of people who are qualified to do a first-rate job of it, and they're very intelligent, and thus they tend to realize that they don't always have all the answers.

      Now, unity among denominations and churches is an entirely different matter. It takes a far different skillset to get people to pay to listen to you go on for an hour about whatever you're feeling concerned about. The pe

  • by mbone (558574) on Saturday February 11, 2012 @10:10AM (#39004373)

    There's a unity among Bible translators and publishers that stands in stark contrast to the fractured, fratricidal smartphone industry.

    Also, alas, in stark contrast to the fractured and occasionally literally fratricidal world of their theological paymasters.

  • by Phrogman (80473) on Saturday February 11, 2012 @10:33AM (#39004457) Homepage

    the effort to bring better and more convenient communications to people everywhere, particularly in obscure languages that might otherwise die off - although we are losing languages on a regular basis.

    I am saddened to hear that all this effort is being directed merely to bring a monotheistic religion like Christianity - likely the cause of more human misery than any other individual concept in history - to an ever widening audience. Its like building a tool to spread ignorance...

  • by gestalt_n_pepper (991155) on Saturday February 11, 2012 @10:34AM (#39004467)

    The King James? The Eastern Orthodox? The Coptic? Hebrew? Syriac? Which apocrypha will be in or out? Will they charge extra for those? Get back to me on that, willya?

    • by jdfox (74524) on Saturday February 11, 2012 @03:24PM (#39006411)

      The King James? The Eastern Orthodox? The Coptic? Hebrew? Syriac? Which apocrypha will be in or out? Will they charge extra for those? Get back to me on that, willya?

      According to their list of included translations [youversion.com], ETEN's "YouVersion" reader provides 27 English translations so far. This includes the King James that you mentioned, and two Roman Catholic translations (CPDV and Douay-Rheims) which include several Apocrypha not included in the Protestant translations. I'm not sure what you mean by the "Eastern Orthodox Bible": there is a new translation to English by that name [orthodoxanswers.org], with the New Testament just released and the full release due later this year, so that obviously hasn't been included yet. There is no Coptic translation included yet, but there are three Coptic Church groups so far listed on the YouVersion groups pages, so that's clearly not a problem for them. Hebrew and Syriac are also not available yet. There is no charge for any of the included translations, and they are working to add more translations to the list: according to their "vision" page [everytribe...nation.org] they're working with other Bible groups to pull in more translations.

  • by dadjaka (827325) on Saturday February 11, 2012 @10:45AM (#39004535)

    Bible translators have also given us XeTeX, which is now an important part of the TeX ecosystem. And a bunch of useful (and good looking!) fonts: http://scripts.sil.org/cms/scripts/page.php?site_id=nrsi&id=FontDownloads [sil.org]

  • by Shavano (2541114) on Saturday February 11, 2012 @11:21AM (#39004753)

    When all is done, they'll have made one book accessible to the tiny number of people who are literate only in these minority languages.

    If instead they taught people to read a major language they'd be opened to a whole world of ideas.

If Machiavelli were a hacker, he'd have worked for the CSSG. -- Phil Lapsley

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