Want to see a modern miracle?

How many languages does your site broadcast in? The LDS Church will broadcast its semiannual General Conference in over 60 languages in this weekend. The list runs from Albanian, American Sign Language, and Amharic to Urdu, Vietnamese, and Yapese.

Along the way from A to Z, you’ll recognize lots of familiar languages plus such interesting tongues as Chuukese, Guarani (my wife served in Paraguay where this is spoken—she’ll be gratified to see it included), Kosraean, Pohnpeian, Papiamento, Twi, and Telugu.

Why bother posting about this? Because it’s a technological and theological miracle to get that many languages broadcast simultaneously. The entire Audiovisual Department throws its full effort into overdrive for these two weekends each year. Translation is arranged with native speakers and returned missionaries all over the world. The IT organization minds it satellites and streaming media servers. There is a deployment moratorium that takes an act of… well, that takes some serious effort to get passed if you need to release new websites or applications during the week before conference, so focused are everyone’s efforts on providing a good experience for conference watchers and listeners.

And it all works.

I remember when it didn’t work so well, trying to watch conference on my PC in Washington state 7-8 years ago. It didn’t work so well back then. Maybe my computer is faster. Maybe the Internet itself is zippier. But I also believe the Church has really started delivering on the promise of taking the Gospel to every kindred tongue and people, with technology helping pave the way for that effort.

But despite all the coolness, I hope you just enjoy listening to the words of inspired leaders this weekend, in your own language, without having to think once of the technical miracles that make it all possible.

That is the real miracle, when the technology disappears, and just lets you focus on the Spirit and Inspiration.

posted by Ted Boren on Friday, Mar 30, 2007
tagged with technology, religion, translation