Just like a carpenter can do his job more efficiently with the right tools, so can Bible translators. One valuable tool is the notebook computer.
All the various brands of these computers require relatively low power so they can be charged on a small solar system and maintain their energy longer. They are lightweight and less bulky for carrying on narrow trails. In addition, their cost is lower than other computers, making them more affordable to Papua New Guinean Bible translation teams. All these things make notebook computers a great tool for Bible translation.
The Kakabai translation team in Milne Bay Province is part of a multi-language project called VITAL. They rely on their notebook computer to input their adaptation from the already completed Dawawa New Testament. They also use it to input changes after checking passages in the villages. Carrying their computers on their backs, they hike trails and ford rivers in their language area.
The Kakabai team always knew these compact computers were built to withstand more than the usual wear and tear. One day that durability was put to the test as a member of their translation team was returning home over the Owen Stanley Mountains from a village checking session. As he crossed a river, the swift current grabbed his legs and threatened to pull him downstream. Thinking quickly, he tossed his backpack ashore, hoping to save the computer he had been carrying. Though the strong current carried him downstream a bit, it was no match for his muscles and he arrived safely on the other side. When he checked the contents of his backpack, he discovered that although the screen was shattered, his quick actions had saved the priceless contents of the computer.
Alex and Karla Watt at the Alotau Regional Center ordered a new computer screen. A support team in Waxhaw, North Carolina, USA sent the new screen to Alotau via an international delivery service. It arrived just days before the Watts were scheduled to leave for their home in Scotland. Karla installed the new screen and the translation team is once again typing God’s Word in Kakabai on their trusty notebook computer.