‘Jesus’ – World’s Most Translated Film at Milestone 2,100 Languages – Set to Go Further Using AI

‘Jesus’ – World’s Most Translated Film at Milestone 2,100 Languages – Set to Go Further Using AI

The 1979 film “Jesus” has reached an amazing milestone that might give us all a little bit of hope for this world. The Campus Crusade for Christ-produced film has now become the most translated film in movie history.

Campus Crusade for Christ has reported that the film, starring Brian Deacon in the lead role, has just been translated into the “Waorani language which is spoken by approximately 3,000 indigenous people of Amazonian Ecuado,” according to CBN News.

The announcement added that this is the 2,100th language that the Christian film has been translated into.

After the film became a sleeper hit when it was first released more than 40 years ago, in 1981 Cru founder Bill Bright launched what he called the Jesus Film Project with the goal of translating the film into as many languages as possible to get the film to as many people as he could.

Bright now says that the film has helped lead millions to Christ and that showings of the film have “resulted in more than 633 million people worldwide making the decision to follow Christ.”

“Jesus” has become the “most watched and translated movie of all time,” according to Movieweb, and Cru estimates that by 2025 more than ten billion people will have seen the movie.

But Cru also reported that there is something exciting and new on the horizon for the Christian film.

According to The Washington Times, Cru intends to use artificial intelligence to help them speed up the process of translating the movie into even more languages to proselytize — “an estimated 200 more languages by 2025″ to be exact.

“The AI applications that we’re looking at when it comes to translation are in step with the Bible translation community organizations, such as Wycliffe Bible Translators and others,” said Josh Newell, executive director of the Jesus Film Project.

Newell added that AI could also help them better pair the translations to what is happening on screen, so that it is more coordinated.

“We also have some other emerging AI developments that we’re looking at to match the lip-sync much better, so when the actors on the screen pronounce Mandarin, they’ll look more like a native speaker than they do currently,” Newell added.

The newest language is a particularly trenchant project, Newell noted.

The Waorani tribe, from Ecuador’s Amazon region, has a turbulent history with Christianity. Some 70 years ago they famously murdered five American Christian missionaries, one of whom was Jim Elliot.

The murders sent Elisabeth Elliot, Jim’s widow, back to the Waorani area to minister to them about Christianity. It is a well-known story in Christian missionary circles. And this history drove Newell and the Jesus film folks to focus on translating their film into the Waorani language after members of the tribe asked them to undertake the project.

“Because the tribe has been the focal point of so much effort or attention, it’s a unique thing to have the Jesus film translated after all this time into the Waorani language,” Newell said, the Washington Times noted.

“Jesus’s words coming in a visual form that people can understand really helps to accelerate not just the sharing of the gospel, but the receiving of the gospel message because they don’t have to take time to learn to read,” Newell explained. “In many places, they’re still very much aural learners. …  And that certainly is the case for the older [Waorani] generation.”

“The most dignifying thing we can do as followers of Jesus is to share about Jesus in the ‘heart language’ that people speak,” he concluded.

Cru has also launched a series of other film projects to serve their ministry to share the Gospels, including films, such as “The Story of Jesus for Children,” a 2000 film where children follow Jesus and learn from Him, and the 2007 release entitled “Magdalena: Released from Shame,” the story of Mary Magdalene.


This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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