We work with an organization whose vision is that God’s word would be accessible to all people in a language that speaks to their heart. That’s a big job, considering that there are more than 1,900 languages, representing about 180 million people, that still have no access to scripture.
The innovative use of technology is a key piece in accomplishing our organization’s mission. Computers are now central to nearly all translation and literacy work. It has been said that in the past, computers aided translation and literacy work, but now, computers enable translation and literacy work. On-site technical assistance is critical. To this end, Mr. Rikshaw is the IT Director for the Hilltop branch of our organization. Mr. Rikshaw’s role is three-fold, including translation and linguistic software consulting, supporting computers and other technical hardware, and mentoring local technical support staff.
The work Mr. Rikshaw did in the Sandbox was similar. After we left the Sandbox, he continued working remotely to support colleagues there, often “meeting” colleagues on Skype or remotely connecting to the computers there. He has also worked extensively on the development and support of a Linux operating system called Wasta-Linux, which is especially geared to meet the needs of national computer users doing translation and literacy work in their own languages. Now that we live in the Hilltop, his primary work is with the language teams here, but he continues doing some remote support for Sandbox language teams as well as Wasta-Linux.
One of the things we love about our organization is the value it places on empowering local communities to have ownership, responsibility, and participation in their language projects. In both the Hilltop and the Sandbox, all of the language teams are made up of nationals who are working on translation and literacy in their own languages. The foreigners (like us) who are there function as consultants to provide training and support in things like linguistics, translation, scripture use, computers, and English. Why English, you might ask? The language teams need English in order to use translation resources, take advanced training courses, communicate with the wider world of translation and literacy work, etc. In the Sandbox, Mama Nomuula spent part of her time teaching an English course to language team members. In the Hilltop, Mama Nomuula will be working on curriculum development, teacher training, and English language learning with the translators and other staff.