Press Release: June 25, 2024

Why Not Just Use A.I.?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is everywhere, but how does it fit in with Bible translation? Often, Lutheran Bible Translators Executive Director Rich Rudowske is asked why translation isn’t just done through AI. He responds, “Language is a very personal part of people. And so understanding the use of technology, especially with Bible translation, the caution and the reason that we have a conversation and don’t just jump in uncritically is because there are people involved, and there’s God’s Word involved.” 

Unused, translated Scripture sat in storehouses when years ago the focus became too much on a timely final product instead of a prayerful, Holy Spirit-led journey. “The goal is that people fully engage with God’s Word,” Director of Field Programs Paul Federwitz reminds, “It can seem very simple that if you think about translation as just replacing this word with that word, well, yeah, a computer can do those things, but we’re not doing translation for people, we’re doing translation with people, and we value them and their input and their involvement in the entire process.” 

Technology has been an integral part of Bible translation work for decades. Having the proper tools in place for translators means more accurate and precise work and increased efficiency throughout the duration of the translation project.

Partnerships in communities where translation work is being done drastically improve awareness of the need for Scripture, and local translators influence a more accessible translation. Computer-generated translation does not understand the cultural nuances of a remote village or know how best to explain concepts such as ‘sin’ and ‘salvation’ to a people group who have never encountered them before. 

Artificial Intelligence provides many helps to translators and when used well increases the accuracy and efficiency of translation, but will never fully replace the work of the body of Christ working together under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. 

Listen to a conversation about AI with CEO Rev. Dr. Rich Rudowske and Director of Field Programs Paul Federwitz.

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