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The Gutenberg eBook: Once Again, The Bible Is At The Forefront Of Publishing Technology

from the mission:-innovation dept

It's well-known that movable-type printing started (at least in the Western world) with the Gutenberg Bible, which all-but-singlehandedly ushered in a new era of literature distribution. To this day, the Bible remains one of the most-printed books of all time, and it's interesting to learn that it still plays a role in pushing publishing technology forward. The Christian missionary initiative Every Tribe Every Nation (ETEN) is working to make ebook Bibles available in as many languages as possible, on as many platforms as possible—and in doing so, they're solving technical problems that few others are addressing:

Now, it turns out, the old missionary impulse is being turned towards some extremely difficult technical challenges: as Mark Howe [who works on the project] has said, "For all the issues that are still to be solved, ETEN is trying to do things that the world's biggest tech companies haven't cracked yet, such as rendering minority languages correctly on mobile devices. There's a unity among Bible translators and publishers that stands in stark contrast to the fractured, fratricidal smartphone industry." And of course, once these technical challenges are met, it won't be Bibles only that people can get on their mobile devices: whole textual worlds will open up for them.

Much of the innovation has to do with niche languages (they have translations in Potawatomie and Hawai'i Pidgin) and the developing world: ETEN is tackling translation challenges that are of low priority for many businesses since they aren't interested in entering those markets—at least not enough, or not yet. But if ETEN succeeds in making this kind of mass-internationalization easier, it will be sure to have a ripple effect as others make use of the technology. The Bible may once again be responsible for driving a communications revolution.


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  1. identicon
    darryl, 9 Mar 2012 @ 3:33am

    another non-story..

    except you forget the bible is bashed far more in the US than anyone else, the rest of the world will never notice or even care.

    are you (they) going to do the Quran ?

    are they going to correct the mistranslations that are allready there ? such as the REED sea not the RED sea.

    but typical of America to think they have the scoop on religion and that they have some right or obligation to force that religion on all TRIBES and NATIONS !!!!!

    how many copies of the GB is there ? 48 wow, that IS some revolution.

    it was not the Gutenburg bible that was significant, (in the US you use the RSV (or ASV), not Gutenburg's, nor did Gutenburg translate the bible, it was a simple printing of the King James bible.

    But it is a quite news week I guess for Masnick, he has to make his money by saying SOMETHING !!, it's still about quantity at the expense of quality... SNAFU

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