BibleTrans Translation Samples

Here are some early BibleTrans translation samples. The current version of BibleTrans is still in development, so we don't have any non-English examples to show yet. The linguist working in the last language we tested wrote a long and positive endorsement to his superior at Wycliffe, but he is in a sensitive location, so I deleted the translation and his comments for this public posting. I hope you understand.

God loved all people. This means that he gave his unique son so that every person who believes in God's son may not die.
John 3:16 in English, 1997 May 3
1:1 Aci nji Jak, nanci naluuk Nasien Bati na naweek nja Isa. Manwelind mbos bajuif. bangareser biki ti umundu
James 1:1 in Manjak, 1998 May 22
16:1 Wadada Maria Magdalena ya hi Maria an inan James ya hi Salome ya nala-u nan Sabadu ya gimmatang da nah lana nah mihaad hi adol di nate ta eda apu-ap hi adol. 2 Timmimil di algo himmaliman da ot ume da 3 ya kimmali da dida, an kanon day "Dahdi ahi manga-an nah batu ad hogpan ad gungat." 4 Tinibo da an hi nanga-an nan batu yaden ongngaongngal. 5 Ot humgop da nah gungat ot tiboon da an inumbun nan lalaki hi numbulwati hiya mumbobola ot mamodwong da.
Mark 16:1-5 in Tuwali Ifugao, 1998 Oct.24

"Dick [Hohulin] and I feel that the above draft would be a good rough draft. But here are [7] specific comments of where your rules may still be inadequate..." -- Lou Hohulin (Tuwali Ifugao translator) 29-Oct-98

[Mark 16:1-8 in "K", 1998 Dec.10, deleted due sensitive location]

Mark 16:1 When the Sabbath passed, Mary Magdalene and Mary, James's mother and Salome bought some perfumed ointments, so that the women might go, then they might anoint the corpse. 2 When it dawned early in the first day of the week, they went to the tomb, and 3 they said to themselves, "Who will roll the stone away out of the tomb's entrance?" Mark 16:4 When they looked up, they saw that the stone was rolled away, but it is large. Then 5 when they entered the tomb, they saw that a guy who was clothed in a white robe sat at a place to the right of them, and they were astounded. 6 He said to them "Don't be astounded! Because you seek Jesus Nazarene who was crucified but he was raised to life; he is not here, which means see the place where he was put! Therefore 7 leave! Then say to his disciples and also Peter! 'Jesus precedes you to Galilee, then you will see him, just as he said to you.'" Mark 16:8 They exited, then they fled, because they trembled, and they were surprised. Then they said nothing to nobody, because they were afraid.
 Mark 16:9 When Jesus was raised early to life during the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene from whom he exorcised seven demons. 10 She went, then she informed the people who were together with him who grieved and who wept. 11 They heard from her that he lives again, then she looked at him, but they disbelieved.
 Mark 16:12 Two disciples of the disciples walked to the countryside where Jesus showed himself to the two disciples in visual form differently. 13 They left the countryside, then they told the message to the remaining disciples, but they did not believe it.
 Mark 16:14 When afterward the eleven disciples ate, Jesus showed himself to them. And he scolded them, because they did not believe, and they were stubborn. Then 15 he said to them "Go into all people! Then preach the gospel to every creature! And 16 God will save some people who believe, then who are baptized, but he will condemn a person who does not believe. 17 These omens will accompany the people who trust this gospel, which means they will exorcise the demons concerning my name the believers will speak some new tongues 18 the believers will carry some snakes with the believers' hands even though the believers will drink poison, it will not hurt them some sick people will be healthy because the believers will put their hands on the sick people."
 Mark 16:19 When Jesus spoke to the disciples, God picked Jesus to the heaven up into it, then he was God prime minister. And then 20 they exited, then they preached everywhere the gospel, which means the Lord worked together with them, and he verified it because the omens accompanied it.
Mark 16 in English, 1998 Dec.1


Notice that we (more or less) correctly assign pronouns to the nouns as it would be done in English. There are no pronouns in the semantic database, they are all generated by the grammar in the translation engine on the fly. In verse 1, the text introduces the three women, and the pronoun generator assigns them to the 3rd-plural pronoun, but then that gets displaced by the (plural in the Greek) ointments, so the next reference to the women must be nominalized. However in v.2 the women are again the subject of their verb, and the pronoun generator correctly generates "they" and later "themselves". In v.6 the same women are addressed inside the quote from the angel (please pardon the "guy": the Greek word means "young man"), and BibleTrans knows to assign the audience of a speech event to the 2nd-person pronoun, so it comes out "you". Later on, the angel is telling them what to say to the disciples, and the pronoun "you" is displaced again to refer to that new audience, the disciples. If he'd had more to say to the women after telling them what to say, the pronoun generator would have resumed its assignment of the women to "you".

In the case of the ointments there in an animacy issue: good English speakers know that women can "go" but ointments don't, so we normally would have just used "they" for the women again in v.1 without confusion. This normally would be programmed into the grammar that tells BibleTrans how to do it, but the whole grammar was thrown together in a couple weeks, so we didn't have time for such nuances. We currently estimate "three to six months" to do the grammar for a new language, but so far nothing has taken more than a week or two. It shows.

Referring to the women going to the tomb in v.2, in the English translation BibleTrans repeated the subject "they", which is understandable but not the way we normally speak. Ordinarily when the same subject is used with successive verbs -- especially in constructions like this, where the two actions are understood to be happening at the same time -- we would elide the second subject, so it comes out "they went and said..." Some languages like Tuwali have special syntax for this form of going, so in that case we actually added the extra grammar to use the special syntax. I could have done it in English too, but as I said, I ran out of time.

Tom Pittman
Back to main BibleTrans page

Back to Home

rev. 01 Jan.5