Bible OL from Tel Aviv to China

Picture of Nicolai Winther-Nielsen
Bible OL from Tel Aviv to China
by Nicolai Winther-Nielsen - Tuesday, 21 February 2017, 1:49 PM

The Chinese interface of Bible Online Learner is now ready for use in China. We are in collaboration with prominent scholars in Tel Aviv and China and hope soon to get one or more projets up and running.  

Now that Bible OL has a Chinese interface, the next task is to connect to fellow Hebrew teachers and scholars in China who want to learn about the new revolutionary approach to Hebrew language learning and are interested in trying it out. This is now happening in the wake of strong support from an outstanding and prominent professor in Tel Aviv who is supporting me and the project! We may have potential collaboration with up to three prominent learning centers for Hebrew in China.

Serious planning on a Chinese version started in the spring of 2016. With a Chinese translator and a Korean Hebrew scholar fluent in Chinese, I explored how we could create and implement a Chinese interface for Bible OL. The software company 3BM invested the seed money needed to translate the navigation and grammatical terminology in the interface into simplified and traditional Chinese, and I then presented the interface for fellow Chinese teachers of Biblical Hebrew (and New Testament Greek) attending the SBL conference for Bible scholars in San Antonio in November (see GLI in San Antonio November 18: experience technology for Biblical language teaching!)

However, Bible OL will only be of use if Chinese teachers and students learn about it. Completely unexpected I got the opportunity to reach the top level Judaic scholars in China, because Professor Zhang Ping from the Department of East Asian Studies at Tel Aviv University invited me to present Bible Online Learner. He has organized a very important international conference in Tel Aviv on December 13-15, 2016 on the subject of  “Is Dao/Torah Translatable? – Inter-traditional Dialogue between Chinese and Jewish Traditions”. I was invited to present in a session on how the Bible is translated into Chinese, focusing on how Bible Online Learner can “help Hebrew learning and (if possible) the translation of Jewish classics into Chinese.”

My presentation “The TaNaKh Training Translators in China: How Bible Online Learner can be adapted to language learning and translation tasks” was received very well and I got the opportunity to discuss my ideas and the potential for introducing Bible OL in pilot projects. Two scholars seem to be interested in perhaps implementing  Bible OL for pilot tests in in their classes. One is from the from teh Center for Judaic and Inter-Religious Studies at Shandong University. The other is from the Glazer Institute of Jewish and Israel Studies and Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies at Nanjing University.

I may be able to get contacts through my collaboration with my Professor colleague, Wido van Peursen from Eep Talstra Center of Bible and Computer.  Through Wido I have got access to a network of Hebrew teachers who were trained by the world famous Hebrew scholar, Professor emeritus Takamitsu Muraoka who since his retirement from Leiden University in 2003 has taught Hebrew to Chinese teachers in an exciting ministry for reconciliation (see HERE).

The planning test projects in China is only part of the task of translating the interface into Chinese. We will need funding for a second phase to provide glosses for the Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek words in the Chinese simplified and traditional scripts. The budget for this second phase at the moment is 3.200 dollars, so I looking for funding and partners with a focus on Hebrew and Greek language learning in China, Hong Kong and elsewhere.