Issue No. 4

August 2023

August 2023 did not disappoint! Grab a cup of coffee, sit back, and dig in to find some exciting news, resources for learning, and more on AI research + development.

But first, what is TechNews.Bible?

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

∴ News

This month, we have three significant developments directly relevant to Bible Translation technologists and innovators.

The Clear Bible Team Joins Biblica
Clear is now a part of Biblica! A long time in the making, Clear's core tools and personnel are officially part of the Biblica family. The work of Clear will continue under the leadership of Mark Finzel, VP of Digital Innovation at Biblica. Read the press release.

ETEN Innovation Lab goes public with Project Catapult
Project Catapult is a new initiative from the Innovation Lab that aims to integrate "the achievements of established Bible translation with state-of-the-art technology". This first article describes the phases of the project that are envisioned. It's hosted on the new ETEN Innovation Lab Substack. Be sure to subscribe there for future updates. Also, take a look at the About page for in-depth information on the structure and goals of the Innovation Lab.

Paratext 9.4 Beta is Now Available
Available now, Paratext 9.4 Beta includes a host of helpful features. Enhanced resources now include videos! There is also improved quotation checking, Scripture Burrito 1.0 support, and integration between FieldWorks dictionaries and the Paratext Interlinearizer. Download the beta here.

∴ AI, Data, and Research

Developments in AI continue to come quickly. New models are being released and we are learning more about their capabilities and limits.

Meta Releases SeamlessM4T Model
This new multimodal + multilingual model provides speech recognition, speech-to-text, speech-to-speech, text-to-text, and more. The dataset used to train the model, called Seamless Align is also available. Read the paper. Take a look at a demo on Meta AI or HuggingFace.

Lost in the Middle: How Language Models Use Long Contexts
This research paper explores how Large Language Models make use of large amounts of data provided to them. An interesting read, the writers conclude that current models are best at accessing information at the beginning and end of long contexts. Read the PDF.

∴ Continuous Learning

Staying curious (breadth) and keeping the saw sharp (depth) are both vital to doing good work. Take a bite of these helpful knowledge snacks.

The Biblical Languages Podcast begins a series on Translation
This is an excellent way for technologists to increase their domain knowledge. This podcast series looks at New Testament Bible Translation from a linguistic perspective. Understanding the theory and skill of translation enables us to better connect with the communities we serve. The first episode, Exploring Translation Theories, is a great place to start. Also, check out The Second Testament with Scot McKnight. From Biblingo.

How to Do Great Work
This aphoristic article explores what it means to do great work, with a substantial portion dedicated to the issue of choosing questions and problems to explore. It's likely relevant for the technologists and innovators reading this newsletter as we reflect on our last 12 months of work and begin considering the next 12. Editor's note: Not everything in this article is to be praised but I've found it to be a goldmine for thinking about how to explore new ideas, how to approach projects (or the possibility thereof), and what not to worry about when it comes to work. From Paul Graham.

∴ Upcoming Events

September 5 :: Open Components Ecosystem Sync
This is the second edition of a "Sync" meeting hosted by the Open Components Ecosystem. Presenters will share updates about their open-source work related to Bible Translation and insights they've had along the way. The meeting takes place virtually, attendance is free. Learn more about the Open Components Ecosystem.

Thanks for reading! TechNews.Bible is a community resource that depends on you (the Bible Translation community) for content and knowledge sharing. If you are interested in sharing information about a project of yours or have content ideas please contact us.