Alex continues to create software for Bible translation and literacy projects all over the world so that unreached people groups can flourish in community with the languages that matter most to them. As a designer, he’s helped dozens of projects across multiple organizations to modernize technologies, to collaborate and make more cohesive experiences for users, and to better understand those users as people—from powerful decision makers to rice farmers.
Here’s some software that he’s designed or contributed to recently:
SIL Transcriber. By translating the Bible orally, we can involve illiterate community members and make it sound more natural. However, it’s difficult to be consistent about how we translate when we’re only working with audio. Oral translation projects must take extra steps to ensure quality and consistency because primary tools that we use to ensure quality—Paratext and FLEx—are focused on text, not audio. SIL Transcriber makes it clear and simple to get audio translation drafts typed, checked, and into Paratext. We started Transcriber from scratch in Spring 2018. Link →
Combine. In a Rapid Word Collection Workshop, we we bring together scores of mother tongue speakers and gather 50,000+ words in a matter of weeks. That’s a lot of data to sort through! Combine is a tool for linguists to quickly wrangle that data into useable dictionaries. Using Alex’s designs, 12 college summer interns made Combine in just two months.
Paratext is the primary application that teams do translation in. Link →
Bloom makes it easy to create simple books, translate them into multiple languages, and share them on the internet or offline. Link →
FieldWorks enables language workers to collect, reference, and analyze detailed information about languages: vocabulary, grammar, ways people talk, and more. It’s foundational for understanding languages and being able to do work in them like literacy and translation. Link →
Scripture Forge and Language Forge are web applications that extend the reach of Paratext and FieldWorks so that anyone with an internet connection can contribute to translating scripture or documenting their language. Link and Link →
Websites. If we want to collaborate well with partner organizations, we need to communicate well with them. The International Linguistics Center website (coming soon at ilcdallas.com) helps students, members, and guests find their way around our biggest campus. The Cooperative Programs website helps partner organizations understand how we can help them succeed in their ministries by addressing the needs of minority language communities.
The kingdom benefits from well-designed software because:
Missionaries can spend less time fussing with their computers and more time ministering to communities, understanding local cultures, and translating the Bible.
Ministries can work more collaboratively.
Highly-competent locals (ex., mother-tongue translators) on our teams can understand how to contribute faster and more significantly. Eventually, they’re able to run projects, create local ministries, or even to run international organizations, as our Executive Director, Michel Kenmogne from Cameroon does.
We can engage the language community beyond our team. Using the internet and mobile apps, we can get input from hundreds or thousands of community members about their language, increasing their buy-in and whetting their appetite for a Bible in their language.