Using the Translation Resources¶
To help translators make the best translation possible, resources have been created. Once you have consulted the resources, then you are ready to make the best translation. Please use these resources when checking your translation!
The Resources include:
The Words are important terms found in the Bible. It is crucial that they be translated correctly. Each Word has a small article written about it as well as cross-references to other places that term is used in the Bible to ensure that it has been translated correctly there, too. See https://read.bibletranslationtools.org/u/WycliffeAssociates/en_tw/db1304c1a7/
The Questions are comprehension questions that can be used to check the translation. These questions can be asked of anyone checking the translation work. Can the Target Language translation be used to correctly answer each of the questions? Read the question, answer the question from the information in the translated text, look at the answer in the program. Do both of the answers match? If so, then the translation is clear and accurate.
For Bible questions, see https://read.bibletranslationtools.org/u/WycliffeAssociates/en_tq/615fc363a5/
The Notes are cultural, linguistic, and exegetical notes that help to describe and explain the context in which the stories from Open Bible Stories and the Bible were written. They also inform the translator of options available to them. See Using the Notes for more information.
For Bible notes, see https://bibleineverylanguage.org/translations/ and select the Bible book under ULB Translation Notes.
Using the Notes to Translate from the ULB¶
Read the ULB. Do you understand the meaning of the text so that you can accurately, clearly and naturally translate the meaning into your language?
YES? Start translating.
NO? Look at the UDB if you have selected it as one of your source texts. Does the UDB help you understand the meaning of the ULB text?
- YES? Start translating.
- NO? Read the translation notes for help.
Notes are words or phrases copied from the ULB and then explained. In English, every note that explains the ULB starts with a bullet point, the ULB text in bold followed by a dash, and then translation suggestions or information for the translator.
- copied ULB text - translation suggestion or information for the translator
There are many different types of notes in the Notes. Each type of note gives the explanation in a different way. Knowing the type of note will help translators make decisions on the best way to translate the Bible text into their language.
Notes with Definitions - Sometimes you may not know what a word in the ULB means. Simple definitions of words or phrases are added without quotes or sentence format.
Notes that Explain - Simple explanations about words or phrases are in sentence format.
There are several types of suggested translations.
Notes with Synonyms and Equivalent Phrases - There are times that the notes provide a translation suggestion that can replace the word or phrases in the ULB. These replacements can fit into the sentence without changing the meaning of the sentence. These are synonyms and equivalent phrases and are written in double-quotes. These mean the same as the text in the ULB.
Notes with Alternate Translations (AT) - An alternate translation is a suggested change to the form or content of the ULB because the target language has a different form. The alternate translation should only be used when the ULB form or content will not fit into the form of your language.
Notes that Include a Quote from the UDB - There may be no note if the UDB provides a good alternate translation for the ULB. However, on occasion there may be text from the UDB as well as a suggested translation. There will be “(UDB)” after the text from the UDB.
Notes that have Alternate Meanings - Alternate meanings refer to when there are multiple ways to express something or when there are different understandings of what the word or phrase means.
Notes with Possible Meanings - Sometimes Bible scholars do not know for sure, or do not agree on, what a particular phrase or sentence in the Bible means. Some reasons for this include: there are minor differences in the ancient Bible texts, or a word may have more than one meaning or use, or it may not be clear what a word (such as a pronoun) refers to in a particular phrase.
Notes that Identify Figures of Speech - In the notes there will be an explanation on how to translate the Figure of Speech that is in the passage. Sometimes an Alternate Translation (AT:) is provided. There will also be a link to the translationAcademy page for additional information and translation strategies to help the translator accurately translate for the meaning of the passage.
Notes that Identify Indirect and Direct Quotes - There are two kinds of quotations: direct quotation and indirect quotation. When translating a quotation, translators need to decide whether to translate it as a direct quotation or an indirect quotation.
Notes for Long ULB Phrases - Sometimes there are notes for a phrase and separate notes for portions of that phrase. In that case, the larger phrase is first, and its parts afterward. The longer phrase is broken down so that translation suggestions for parts of the phrase can be explained for each part.
Notes with Definitions¶
Sometimes you may not know what a word in the ULB means. The notes may have a definition or a description of the word or phrase to help you understand what it means.
Simple definitions of words or phrases are added without quotes or sentence format. Here are examples:
It is like children playing in the marketplace, who sit and call to one another and say, ‘We played a flute for you (Matthew 11:16-17 ULB)
- marketplace - a large, open-air area where people would come to sell their goods
- flute - a long, hollow musical instrument which is played by blowing air in or over one end
…people who dress in splendid clothing and live in luxury are in kings’ palaces (Luke 7:25 ULB)
- kings’ palaces - a large, expensive house that a king lives in
- Use words that are already part of your language if possible.
- Keep expressions short if possible.
- Represent God’s commands and historical facts accurately.
See Translate Unknowns for more information on translating words or phrases that are not known in your language.
Notes that Explain¶
Sometimes you may not know what a word or phrase in the ULB means. And sometimes the same word or phrase is also used in the UDB. So the word or phrase is explained in the notes.
These explanations are meant to help you understand the word or phrase. Do not translate the explanations into your Bible. Instead use them to help you understand the meanings so you can translate the Bible text correctly.
Simple explanations about words or phrases are written as full sentences. They begin with a capital letter and end with a period (“.”).
The fishermen had gotten out of them and were washing their nets. (Luke 5:2 ULB)
washing their nets - They were cleaning their fishing nets in order to use them again to catch fish.
If you did not know that fishermen used nets to catch fish, you might wonder why the fishermen were cleaning their nets. This explanation can help you choose good words for “were washing” and “nets.”
they motioned to their partners in the other boat (Luke 5:7 ULB)
motioned - They were too far from shore to call so they made gestures, probably waving their arms.
This note can help you understand what kind of motion the people made. It was a motion that people would be able to see from a distance. This will help you choose a good word or phrase for “motioned.”
He will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even while in his mother’s womb. (Luke 1:14 ULB)
even while in his mother’s womb - The word “even” here indicates that this is especially surprising news. People had been filled with the Holy Spirit before, but no one had heard of an unborn baby’s being filled with the Holy Spirit.
This note can help you understand what the word “even” means in this sentence, so you can find a way of showing how surprising this was.
Notes with Synonyms and Equivalent Phrases¶
Sometimes immediately after the bolded words and hyphen there is a phrase in double quotation marks. This phrase means the same as the bolded words from the ULB and it can replace it in your translation. It may clarify who or what a pronoun refers to, or it may use words that you understand better.
Make ready the way of the Lord, (Luke 3:4 ULB)
- the way - “the path” or “the road”
In this example, the words “the path” or the words “the road” can replace the words “the way” in the ULB. You can decide whether it is natural to say “way,” “path,” or “road” in your language.
whoever has food should do likewise.” (Luke 3:10 ULB)
- do likewise - “do the same thing”
*In this example, the words “do the same thing” can replace the words “do likewise” in the ULB. You, as the translator, can decide what is natural for your language.
Notes with Alternate Translations (AT)¶
An alternate translation is a suggested change to the form or content of the ULB because the target language has a different form. The alternate translation should be used only when the ULB form or content would give a wrong meaning or would be unclear or unnatural. The alternate translation suggestion may involve, for example, stating implicit information clearly, changing passive voice to active, or rewording rhetorical questions as statements. The notes often explain why there is an alternate translation and have a link to a page that explains the topic.
The “AT:” indicates that this is an alternate translation. Some examples are:
Making Implicit Information Clear
it is the law of the Medes and Persians, that no decree or statute that the king issues can be changed. (Daniel 6:15 ULB)
no decree…can be changed - An additional sentence may be added here to aid in understanding. AT: “no decree…can be changed. So they must throw Daniel into the pit of lions.” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)
The additional sentence shows what the speaker wanted the king to understand from his reminder that the king’s decrees and statutes cannot be changed. Translators may need to state some things clearly in the translation that the original speaker or writer left unstated or implicit.
Passive to Active
to him who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven. (Luke 12:10 ULB)
it will not be forgiven - This can be expressed with an active verb. AT: God will not forgive him. This can also be expressed in a positive way using a verb that means the opposite of “forgive.” AT: “God will consider him guilty forever” (See: Active or Passive)
Translators whose languages do not have passive sentences will need to know how they can translate passive sentences that they find in the Bible.
Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? (Acts 9:4 ULB)*
- why are you persecuting me? - The Lord used this question to rebuke Saul. In some languages a statement would be more clear. AT: “You are persecuting me!” (See: Rhetorical Question)
Notes That Include a Quote from the UDB¶
There may not be a note if the Unlocked Dynamic Bible provides a good alternate translation for the ULB. However, on occasion a note may include text from the UDB as a suggested translation. In that case the text from the UDB will be followed by “(UDB).”
they implored him to stay with them (John 4:40 ULB)
they urged him to stay a longer time with them (John 4:40 UDB)
implored him - “begged him” or “urged him” (UDB)
Here the suggested translation for the words ‘implored him’ is ‘begged him.’ The words, ‘urged him’ from the UDB mean the same thing and are included as another suggestion.
When he saw Jesus, he fell on his face (Luke 5:12 ULB)
When he saw Jesus, he bowed down to the ground (Luke 5:12 UDB)
he fell on his face - “he knelt and touched the ground with his face” or “he bowed down to the ground” (UDB)
Here the words from the UDB are provided as another translation suggestion.
Notes That Have Alternate Meanings¶
Alternate meanings refer to when there are different understandings of what a word or phrase means. The note will have the ULB text followed by an explanation starting with the words “Possible meanings are.” The meanings are numbered, and the first one is most likely correct. If a meaning is given in a way that it can be used as a translation, it will have quote marks around it.
The translator needs to decide which meaning to translate. Translators may choose the first meaning, or they may choose one of the other meanings if the people in their community use and respect another Bible version that has one of those other meanings.
You are like a young lion among the nations, like a monster in the seas (Ezekiel 32:2 ULB)
like a monster in the seas - Possible meanings are that 1) he was powerful or 2) he was not doing anything important.
This note has the ULB text followed by two meanings. The note starts with ‘Possible meanings are,’ and the meanings are numbered. The first meaning is most likely correct.
But Simon Peter, when he saw it, fell down at Jesus’ knees (Luke 5:8 ULB)
fell down at Jesus’ knees - Possible meanings are 1) “bowed down at Jesus’ feet” or 2) “lay down on the ground at Jesus’ feet” or 3) “knelt down before Jesus.” Peter did not fall accidentally. He did this as a sign of humility and respect for Jesus.
This note explains what ‘fell down at Jesus’ knees” might mean. The first meaning is most likely correct, but the other meanings are also possible. If your language does not have a general word that could refer to any of these actions, you may need to use a word that shows specifically how Simon Peter did this.
Notes with Possible Meanings¶
Sometimes Bible scholars do not know for sure, or do not agree on, what a particular phrase or sentence in the Bible means. Some reasons for this include:
- There are minor differences in the ancient Bible texts.
- A word may have more than one meaning or use.
- It may not be clear what a word (such as a pronoun) refers to in a particular phrase.
When many scholars say that a word or phrase means one thing, and many others say that it means other things, we show the most common meanings that they give. Our notes for these situations begin with “Possible meanings are” and then give a numbered list. We recommend that you use the first meaning given. However, if people in your community have access to another Bible that uses one of the other possible meanings, you may decide that it is better to use that meaning.
But Simon Peter, when he saw it, fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, Lord.” (Luke 5:8 ULB)
- fell down at Jesus’ knees - Possible meanings are 1) “bowed down at Jesus feet” or 2) “lay down on the ground at Jesus feet” or 3) “knelt down before Jesus.” Peter did not fall accidentally. He did this as a sign of humility and respect for Jesus.
- Translate it in such a way that the reader could understand either meaning as a possibility.
- If it is not possible to do that in your language, then choose a meaning and translate it with that meaning.
- If not choosing a meaning would make it hard for the readers to understand the passage in general, then choose a meaning and translate it with that meaning.
Notes That Identify Figures of Speech¶
Figures of speech are ways of saying things that use words in non-literal ways. That is, the meaning of a figure of speech is not the same as the more direct meaning of its words. There are many different types of figures of speech.
In the translationNotes there will be an explanation about the meaning of a figure of speech that is in the passage. Sometimes an alternate translation is provided. This is marked as “AT,” which is the initial letters of “alternate translation.” There will also be a link to a translationAcademy page that gives additional information and translation strategies for that kind of figure of speech.
In order to translate the meaning, you need to be able to recognize the figure of speech and know what it means in the source language. Then you can choose either a figure of speech or a direct way to communicate that same meaning in the target language.
Many will come in my name and say, ‘I am he,’ and they will lead many astray. (Mark 13:6 ULB)
Many will come in my name - The word “name” represents the authority of Jesus. AT: “Many will come, claiming my authority and permission.” (See: Metonymy)
The figure of speech in this note is metonymy. The note explains the metonymy in this passage and gives an alternate translation. After that, there is a link to the tA page about metonymy. Click on the link to learn about metonymy and general strategies for translating metonymys.
You offspring of poisonous snakes, who warned you to flee from the wrath that is coming? (Luke 3:7 ULB)
You offspring of poisonous snakes - This is a word picture. Poisonous snakes are dangerous and represent evil. AT: “You evil poisonous snakes!” or “You are evil like poisonous snakes.” (See: Metaphor)
The figure of speech in this note is metaphor. The note explains the metaphor and gives two alternate translations. After that, there is a link to the tA page about metaphors. Click on the link to learn about metaphors and general strategies for translating them.
Notes That Identify Indirect and Direct Quotes¶
There are two kinds of quotations: direct quotation and indirect quotation. When translating a quotation, translators need to decide whether to translate it as a direct quotation or an indirect quotation. (See: Direct and Indirect Quotations)
When there is a direct or indirect quote in the ULB, the notes may have an option for translating it as the other kind of quote. The translation suggestion may start with “It can be translated as a direct quote:” or “It can be translated as an indirect quote:” and it will be followed by that kind of quote. This may be followed by a link to the information page called “Direct and Indirect Quotations.”
There is a likely to be a note about direct and indirect quotes when a quote has another quote inside of it, because these can be confusing. In some languages it may be more natural to translate one of these quotes with a direct quote and the other quote with an indirect quote. The note will end with a link to the information page called “Quotes within Quotes.”
He instructed him to tell no one (Luke 5:14 ULB)
to tell no one - This can be translated as a direct quote: “Do not tell anyone.” The implied information is “that you have been healed.” (See: Direct and Indirect Quotations)
Here the translation suggestion is to change the indirect quote to a direct quote.
At the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, “First pull out the weeds and tie them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.”’” (Matthew 13:30 ULB)
I will say to the reapers, “First pull out the weeds and tie them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn” - You can translate this as an indirect quote: “I will tell the reapers to first gather up the weeds and tie them in bundles to burn them, then gather the wheat into my barn.” (See: Direct and Indirect Quotations)
Here the translation suggestion is to change the direct quote to an indirect quote.
Notes for Long ULB Phrases¶
Sometimes there are notes for a phrase and separate notes for portions of that phrase. In that case, the larger phrase is explained first, and its parts afterward.
But it is to the extent of your hardness and unrepentant heart that you are storing up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath (Romans 2:5 ULB)
But it is to the extent of your hardness and unrepentant heart - Paul compares a person who refuses to listen and obey God to something hard, like a stone. The heart represents the whole person. AT: “It is because you refuse to listen and repent” (See: Metaphor and Metonymy)
hardness and unrepentant heart - The phrase “unrepentant heart” explains the word “hardness” (See: Doublet)
In this example the first note explains the the metaphor and metonymy, and the second explains the doublet in the same passage.