The Visual Storyteller
Using oral translation and digital media to engage local communities with Scripture
Author: Kris Toler
Publisher: Dallas International University, GIALens 2018 Volume 12, No. 2

Our hope is not just to have entertaining videos of Bible stories in the local language. Our aim is to use these videos as a strategic tool in the overall project, which includes digital books as well as traditional print media.

Bible translation workers face a major challenge in finding ways to engage preliterate communities with Scripture. Traditional translation methods take a long time and depend on literacy to function. Studies have shown that 80% of the world’s population are oral learners. This paper shows how local communities can engage with the Scripture by creating animated videos of Bible stories using free software and public domain resources. I will discuss the methods used to create these animated videos as well as the benefits and challenges of using digital media in remote communities.

We are using oral translation of Bible stories to engage in the work of Scripture translation with the Central Pame of Mexico. This allows the community to gain access to the Biblical stories sooner than if they waited for a traditional written translation. The addition of digital media engages both adults and children with the stories in a way that print media and oral stories alone cannot. This method not only creates engagement and linguistic pride, but it has created a desire to see a written translation of the Scripture in the local community.

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