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(via satellite phone or high-frequency radios) has increased communication, allowed access to more information, and kept translators in remote areas from feeling completely isolated. What used to be two- to five-month waiting periods have been reduced to a matter of minutes and hours.

Computers in general have improved the speed and accuracy of translations. Languages with ornate script characters have been much easier to translate and transcribe with computerized word processing. Also, sociological data have been easier to compile and track.

"Translators Workplace," a CD-ROM with more than 200 resource books and 37 versions of the Bible, replaces a bulky library. Translators used to carry at least a dozen volumes and go without many expert references.

"Shoebox," a software program, saves translators years of time by cataloguing and cross-referencing their lexical, grammatical, and cultural notes. It gets its name from the literal shoeboxes in which translators almost universally stored their work.

"Acoustic Speed Analyzer Program" (ASAP), another software program, records sound waves in exquisite detail. It even has a function that displays the mouth position a speaker must create to produce specific vocalizations. What once required mailing cassettes to sound laboratories back in the U.S. can now be completed in minutes.

"CARLA" stands for Computer Assisted Related Language Adaptation. This program automatically translates documents among a family of dialects. Most of CARLA's automated first drafts are 80 percent readable and just need grammatical fine-tuning.

Personal Digital Assistants, such as Pocket PCs and Palm Pilots, allow translators to call up Scripture while in the field and reference it with a variety of tribe ...

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