Fourth Edition – Revised for 2019
It is not hard to convince those involved in Scripture access and Scripture engagement of the value of listening to audio Scriptures. We want to assist communities in making strategic choices about how best to make them available and how best to encourage people to engage with them. One of the ways people listen to the Bible today is using a digital audio player. But since there are so many different audio players to choose from, how do we make a good choice?
This in-depth review (66 pages) compares a range of today’s digital audio players including the Proclaimer (from Faith Comes By Hearing), the Envoy 2 (from MegaVoice), the Audibible K1 (from Kivah Distributors), the Papyrus and The Torch (from Renew World Outreach), the Kulumi Mini and Lost Sheep from Hope Tech Global.
In 2019 I went to Southeast Asia to oversee a video dubbing. The team there assured me they had prepared the script to fit the video’s timing, and it was ready for recording. But when we began to dub the video, we realized that, in many parts, segments were too long. In other parts, as we watched the video, we realized that we could often see the actor’s mouth moving but nothing was being said in the dubbed language. We spent many hours of several days adjusting the script to achieve a good dubbing. We needed a translation consultant to approve every change. Precious recording time was lost and the dubbing took days longer than planned.
When I returned to IMS-Waxhaw, many of my colleagues told me similar experiences they had had on the field. Something needed to be done to help prevent the “script fit blues.” All the instructions for preparing the script are in the Shell Video Manual (Step Five), which every field team receives when they apply to dub a video. But the manual can be a difficult read, especially for non-English speakers. And many people think that when it comes to script fitting, they already know everything they need to know. So I wrote the scripts, and we assembled a team to create two animated videos explaining the why and how of script fitting. Read More »Script Fit Videos
IMS Media Training & certification
IMS (SIL International Media Services) offers you a selection of core and specialized training modules to choose from, allowing you to be better equipped for the specific ministry context you are in.
If you are wanting to be certified as a Media Specialist, our obligatory four core modules are: Audio Production, Video Production, The role of media in ministry & holistic development, and Facilitating media. In addition to this, we offer a range of additional specialized courses for those seeking to become Media Consultants such as Dubbing biblical films, Using social media effectively, App building or Participatory radio drama.
Our training helps you…
During many long hours of commuting in heavy traffic and listening to lots of great audio books, we noticed a silent space in the audio book world when it came to the Bible. Women’s voices were missing. her.BIBLE brings the Word of God to life through a multi-ethnic U.S. women’s narration of the New Living Translation in English. We pray that as you listen, you will connect with the heart of God on a deeper level.
Do women’s voices make a difference? We believe they do. When we think of women as a people group, wouldn’t we want to reachout to them in their heart language?
Our goal is to produce a great audio Bible using women’s comforting voices—as if your mother is reading to you. We also want women to feel their value to God, grow in faith through hearing, and fully engage in his kingdom work.
Imagine: You live in a secluded village on an island in the Pacific. You have only ever known the religion and rituals of your community, but you know in your soul that there must be something more. You yearn for truth and peace. Once, a foreigner brought a book in the local trade language and tried to tell your people about God, but your heart language does not have a written form. Only a few of your family members and friends can read the trade language to a small degree. The book that the foreigner brought contained complex wording that made no sense even to them. You eventually resign yourself to the fact that if there is a God, He doesn’t care about you enough to speak His truth in your language.
…Until one day, your neighbor shows you an interesting device. Emitting from it are words you recognize. Your neighbor tells you that at last, because of this device, your community can hear God speak—in your language.
Faith Comes By Hearing strives to ensure that every last person has the chance to hear God’s Word, no matter where they live or what language they speak. To carry out this work, we employ a variety of methods in recording and providing Scripture to more people.
If I had to describe the audio processing team at Faith Comes By Hearing, I’d use the word precision. Much like a tool-machining company, audio engineers have to produce an individual product with extreme accuracy—again and again. They have to get each Audio Bible recording just right.
Every workday, the 20 audio editors buckle in at their desks, strap on their headsets, and enter the culture of another people group through their recorded words. But these aren’t ordinary words: they are God’s words, which were painstakingly translated into the community’s mother tongue.
The Greek New Testament has 138,000 words; the English has 180,000. What?! That’s a big gap. The New Testament might have a unique number of words for every language. Let’s take an average of 160,000 words. Since Faith Comes By Hearing has more than 1,460 New Testament recordings, that means audio technicians have already recorded 234 million words, more or less.
Words are essential in everyday interactions, education and business, and most certainly in spiritual matters. Because 50% of the world’s population can’t read at a level high enough to understand the Bible, the audio recordings produced by Faith Comes By Hearing are crucial to the salvation and spiritual growth of millions of people. This drives our need to be accurate. Each word matters.
An audio editor focuses on one language at a time. If all goes well, he can check the audio files, add music and sound effects, and complete the master in about three and a half weeks. As many as 30 languages are in the studio at the same time, and the team produces an average of 10 Scripture recordings a month.
How does an editor in Albuquerque follow a biblical text and recording in totally foreign language? Some languages use the Roman alphabet, like English and many other European languages. This makes listening and following the text relatively easy. Otherwise, audio processors refer to a transliteration of the recorded language, which changes the sounds of the words into Roman script. The editor can now identify if there is an extra word or if one is missing. Finding simple errors like these is an essential step in verifying the accuracy of a recording. The text also helps the editors place markers in the right location to add the background music and sound effects.
Quality control (QC) for Scripture recordings is built into the recording and editing processes from start to finish. It begins in the language community, where the trained director and technician constantly monitor the sound quality, the person reading, and background noise. Adjustments are made on the spot to ensure the highest sound quality possible. In the studio, Faith Comes By Hearing’s audio editors can remove some extraneous noises, adjust volume levels, eliminate pauses, etc. As you can imagine, it takes a lot of time to check the approximately 160,000 words in each New Testament recording.
But we’re not done yet. There’s one more person who does a final check in the QC process. He listens for balance between the volume levels of the narrator’s voice and the background music and effects. He checks to make sure every chapter is announced, and he spot-checks the entire recording to ensure we’ve produced the best possible Scripture recording for each people group. At last, the recording is formatted to play on the Web, the Bible.is app, and a Proclaimer.
As I contemplate the complexity of recording Scripture in every language that needs it, I feel a sense of awe. And I have a whole new appreciation for the audio editors. They experience a great sense of accomplishment when they complete each new language. One put it this way: “Having a job where the whole mission is to get the Word of God to the whole world is awesome and very fulfilling.”
It’s not a task to be taken lightly—they are responsible for handling God’s Word in audio with precision so that every person can hear the pure Word of God in their language.
I’m beginning to get asked a lot of questions about recording audio. I’m thinking about voice recordings of Scripture. Here are some things to think about:
- Equipment – you only need a USB microphone or decent headset with microphone, or a condenser microphone with pop filter and sound card (that plugs into your USB port)
- You also need to make an acoustic baffle to absorb sound. This will cut out unwanted echo called ‘reverb’. Reverb can always be added later but there is no button to remove reverb, and people like FCBH, who we work with, are fussy about these things, as they know a voice with reverb is hard to listen to and understand (music, on the other hand, needs some reverb, especially the vocals). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1bTK6tZzzaE is a good video on how to make a simple acoustic baffle. You can make a small tent in your room, but this gets hot and stuffy in places like Central Asia…