Bethany Rodgers/Orlando Sentinel
Computer-science major Luke Wilson might have needed to gulp down a mug of tea or gnaw on a toothpick to stay focused on the cramped lines of code displayed across his monitor.
But for the most part, the Clemson University student had no trouble paying attention. Wilson said he and his 11 teammates in the "8 Weeks of Code" program at Wycliffe Associates, a nonprofit mission organization that explores the overlap between new technology and ancient text, felt a sense of mission.
Rather than doing intern tasks such as fetching coffee, the 20-year-old junior from Anderson, S.C., said recently, "I'm actually getting to go in and make something that thousands of people are going to use, and it's going to impact people's lives."
Inside Wycliffe's Orlando headquarters, college students who hailed from Washington state to New Jersey spent their summer creating a software that could improve speed and accuracy of Bible translation efforts worldwide.
The software — called translationCore — will guide translators through the painstaking process of checking their scriptural drafts and will fit into a suite of applications developed by Wycliffe.
With Bible translation still needed for an estimated 1,800 languages, digital tools are opening up new ways of taking on the task, said Mark Stedman, Wycliffe's vice president of information technology. In the past, converting the scriptures into a new language might take decades, since a translator would need schooling in Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic before the real work even began.