USA (MNN) -- Faith Comes By Hearing has produced Audio Bible recordings in hundreds of languages using their traditional recording method of sending teams to regions where a language is primarily spoken and finding local participants to voice the various characters found in Scripture.
Earlier this year, the ministry introduced a new system called Virtual Recording to compliment the traditional method. By utilizing online technology, Virtual Recording (VR) has opened worldwide participation to anyone with a computer, a microphone, and an Internet connection.
The ministry recruited voice talent by using social media such as Facebook and Craigslist, as well as word-of-mouth support from longtime partnering churches from across the country. While some were professional voice talents, the vast majority consisted of everyday people wanting to participate in the pilot project to help work out the bugs in the system. Additionally, there were over 200 people who signed up solely to review, evaluate, and comment on recorded audio files.
"The response and enthusiasm of the participants was truly amazing," comments Bill Lohr, a spokesman for the ministry. "We had moms, dads, kids, even members of the military, and one gentleman who is a U.S. postman. So many people were excited to be a part of this incredible new technology."
While 90% of the recording was completed within four weeks, the overall objective of this first project was more or less to act as a beta test and evaluate the VR system. Learning from this initial foray into online recording, the ministry is exuberant about the possibilities this technology brings to completing their work.
"This was an entirely new concept for us just last year," continues Lohr. "But now we have a tool that gives us the capability to speed up and complete Scripture recording at a rate we never imagined possible."
There are currently seven new non-English projects that have launched and dozens more scheduled for the very near future, including Old Testaments and portions.* In the last six months, the ministry has seen more than 150,000 unique visitors to the site from over 100 countries, with more than 3,000 people submitting auditions.
FCBH is also in the process of translating, or 'localizing,' the Virtual Recording Web site into major trade languages for easier access and use by participants around the world. Currently, Arabic, Chinese, Indonesian, Russian, and Spanish have joined the original English page, with Uzbek expected to go live soon.
The ministry anticipates doing hundreds of recordings simultaneously on the Virtual Recording system, with the result of expediting their goal of recording the Bible in every translated language.
When Faith Comes By Hearing (FCBH) first started recording Audio Bibles in the languages of the world, two or three recordings a year was considered a success. With advancements in recording equipment, production was pushed to 10-15 annual Audio New Testaments. As digital technology met with increased funding, the ministry made substantial progress and now releases 90 to 100 new recordings every year. Not wanting to rest on "good enough", the ministry has now taken the next step in recording technology and is today introducing Virtual Recording, which can potentially handle hundreds of recording projects simultaneously.
An online presence at VirtualRecording.com, the new system opens up participation in Scripture recording to anyone with a computer, microphone and Internet connection. The ministry's traditional recording method (which will continue to be used) requires teams to travel to the region where a language is primarily spoken and find participants. With Virtual Recording, speakers of a language who have moved to other parts of the world are now also prospective recruits for voice talent - effectively broadening the pool of possible participants to a global level.
Faith Comes By Hearing anticipates using social media and other methods that permit worldwide connectivity for their outreach and recruitment efforts. Longtime partnerships with translators and others in the mission field will continue to prove vital to this new system, with an increased importance in certain areas. Some partners have given input in the initial creation of the system and many have expressed excitement about the possibilities virtual recording brings to the field of Great Commission work.
"This ministry has never been shy about embracing new technology when it means more and more people will receive the Gospel," states Jerry Jackson, FCBH founder and president.
When presented with the idea of virtual recording, Jackson immediately saw the possibilities: increased speed in completing recordings, greater participation because of worldwide reach and increased safety for all participants.
"This was truly an easy decision," continues Jackson. "To have the potential for so many recordings to take place simultaneously, while also providing people living in dangerous regions the ability to participate from the safety of their own homes? Like I said, this was an easy decision."
FCBH currently has numerous projects scheduled for Virtual Recording in 2013, including portions and complete Old Testament recordings. Prior to this new system, only a handful of portions and Old Testaments were recorded because of time requirements and financial feasibility.
"Just one of many doors being opened by God's gift of technology," concludes Jackson.
Imagine, a great multitude from every nation, tribe, and people group coming together to record the Word of God in all the languages of the earth! There was a time when this would be purely fiction, because of the limitations of time and finances, but not anymore. Technology is opening new doors to make Scripture available in hundreds of new languages in the near future, through the development of Virtual Recording.
This new technology gives us the ability to record Scripture "virtually," enabling speakers located anywhere in the world to submit their lines via the Internet. And, Virtual Recording can potentially handle hundreds of recording projects simultaneously.
We covet your prayers for this new endeavor, and will update you as pilot recording projects are completed in 2013. Thank you for partnering with us to ensure that all nations, tribes, and tongues can hear the Word of God in their heart language, and someday, stand before the throne!