How A.I. is Making the Bible More Accessible

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How A.I. is Making the Bible More Accessible

By Movieguide® Contributor 

A team of researchers is using A.I. to translate the Bible into languages that have yet to receive the Word of God. 

“People don’t realize that there are 7,100 languages,” project leader Ulf Hermjakob said. “Google translate covers about 100 of them. Our focus for this Bible translation is on very low-resource languages that don’t even fall within the top 500.” 

Currently, only about ten percent of all languages have a fully translated Bible. The research group hopes that their project. – “Greek Room” – will allow that number to significantly rise in the upcoming years. 

“There were a lot of areas where I felt that software technology could really speed up, improve, support, and help [translators],” research engineer Joel Mathew said. “It’s one of my passions to see the Bible translated to all languages.” 

While some areas of Bible translation are objective and require little human input, other areas require intense creativity and decision-making best convey the Word of God to unique cultures. Greek Room seeks to perform the objective tasks, allowing more resources for the more difficult aspects of translation.  

“There is a community living in the mountains, and they live in huts without door, so there’s no concept of door in their culture,” Mathew explained. “In the Bible there is a verse that says, ’Behold I stand at the door and knock.’ The question is, how do you translate that for people so that it is meaningful to them?”  

“We try to then explain it as not specifically knocking at the door, but instead describe a scene where someone is standing at the entrance of your house and asking to be invited to come in,” he explained. 

By allowing more resources to go towards problems like these, Greek Room could cut the time it takes to translate from decades to years. 

Hermjakob and Mathew both want this technology to be as useful as possible for translators. They plan on releasing the tool as an open-source platform, allowing translators to use the technology without having to pay for it. 

“We want to make it so that other Bible translation efforts can use what we have built for their own research as well, so one thing we decided early on is that we want to make our data for the code public,” Hermjakob said. 

Movieguide® previously reported on A.I.: 

Some educators are fully embracing these AI tools and even using them to help automate the more menial aspects of the job. 

Brian Stiles, a high school journalism teacher, uses ChatGPT to create writing prompts for his students. 

“It can spit out all kinds of really generalized ideas for stories that they can tell, which is a great starting point for a lot of kids, especially the ones that struggle with coming up with creative approaches,” he said. 

Rather than asking students should be able to use ChatGPT, the narrative should be based around the use of technology and the way it can help or hinder people’s ability to think critically, develop opinions and use technology to learn, rather than just consume. 

Beyond the education sphere, Thacker also hopes that Christians will focus on the way technology affects the whole person. 

“It’s shaping us in many ways, shaping our understanding of God, changing our understanding of ourselves, shaping our understanding of the world around us and how we interact with one another,” he said. 

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