Issue No. 1

May 2023

The inaugural edition of TechNews.Bible!

This newsletter is intended to be a community resource to enable Bible Translation technologists to discover, learn, share, and collaborate. Read about the backstory and intentions of the newsletter here.

🔦Issue Spotlight :: LLMs + Apps

Applications for Large Language Models. Large language models continue to dominate technology news. As developers and product designers explore how to use them, interesting Bible reading and study applications continue to pop up.

Illuminate Bible, an AI-assisted Bible reading environment
A great concept with a well-considered user experience. From product designer Chris Lee.

Assistant.Bible, a framework Bible-focused chatbots
A promising collaboration between multiple organizations via the Partnership of Applied Biblical NLP (PAB-NLP), Assistant.Bible provides tools for augmenting LLM chatbot experiences with relevant Bible data.

What is ChatGPT doing... and why does it work?
A thorough guide to understanding how Large Language models work. Written by Stephen Wolfram.

∴ Content News

An encouraging trend toward useful freely-licensed content continues.

The Berean Bible has been placed in the public domain
This release includes not only the Berean Standard Bible but also a Greek Bible, Literal Bible, and more. The data is available on the downloads page.

Faithlife / Logos Bible Software has released the SBL Greek New Testament with a Creative Commons License
Up-to-date and freely licensed Greek texts are of high value to the Bible translation community.

Tyndale Open Study Notes are released under CC BY-SA
These study notes include book introductions, profiles, theme articles, and study notes that explain the meaning and background of the Bible text in clear, modern English.

∴ Apps and Tools

Bible Vocab, a Chrome extension
This chrome extension from Patrick Tang exposes lexical information from STEP Bible on top of a number of popular digital bible reading environments. Install the extension.

BibleSearch.dev, intelligent syntax search
An early-stage proof of concept with more to come. Users can click on a single word and relevant results are returned based on lemma, morphology, and syntactic relationship similarity. Props to Chris Drymon for choosing to share early and often!

Ζήτησις, semantic search for ancient texts
A capstone project utilizing mBERT and XLM-R provides semantic search for English and Greek queries. Read the paper. From Kevin Krahn.

∴ Research

Last but not least, a very exciting development in translation technology powered by Bible translation data.

Meta AI releases speech-to-text and text-to-speech for more than 1,100 languages
Using data from Bible translation efforts1, Meta AI has released models that can identify 4,000+ languages while also handling speech-to-text and text-to-speech for 1,100+ languages. Read the paper. View it on Github.

Footnotes

  1. From the paper: "The MMS-lab dataset is based on recordings of people reading the New Testament in different languages. The New Testament consists of 27 books and a total of 260 chapters. Specifically, we obtain data from Faith Comes By Hearing, goto.bible and bible.com."