Layout for Monitoring Additions and Omissions in the Text

A checking task that is performed by teams and translation consultants alike is verifying that a verse has no additions or omissions compared to the source text. A simple change can be made to your Paratext layout that will make it easier to evaluate that the verse is complete. Please note that there are many instances where it may be appropriate to include implicit information to make the text clear and natural. The focus of this article is to help discover omissions or additions to the text that were unintentional. By way of acknowledgement, some of the ideas presented are from Stephen Payne who often does Paratext training.

This article is a continuation of a discussion about how to use layouts to make the work of Bible translation easier, and is a detailed discussion of one aspect of the article Suggestions for a General Purpose Layout that is too large to be a blog post. There was an earlier article called Tame Your List Window in Paratext!, that dealt with that layout issue.  Discussions of layouts for other specific purposes such as working with parallel passages, key terms, spelling, and other tasks are being considered but these layouts could be developed from the General purpose layout described in the article referred to above.

Using a Text Collection Window

A text collection window is a great way to give immediate visual feedback on the comparative size and content of individual verses. Since any project or resource can be added to a text collection window, we can use this capability to line up the translation draft, back translation, and the model text—the resource the team most closely follows.  This arrangement can make it easy for your eyes to follow along and compare the texts.

Below is an example text collection window with the translation draft, the back translation, and the team’s preferred model text.

text collection minimum 1

To learn how to create a text collection window, watch this video:

If the verse is too long for your eyes to easily follow along, then click on the title bar of the text collection and open it as a floating window and make the window wider. This can be especially useful if you are using a second monitor.

floating window 1

Here is my text collection as a floating window and expanded:

floating window 2 2

Power User Tip – Add Biblical Languages

If you are able to work directly from the Greek, you can add the UBS Greek text to your text collection.

Greek Text

Greek text 1

Hebrew Text

The Hebrew text displays acceptably, but Hebrew’s right-to-left nature makes the presentation not quite as helpful.

Hebrew text 1

Where to Put Notes to the Team?

Paratext does not support placing project notes in a text collection window.  Because of this you will need to have the project where you put your notes open in another panel. In the example, I have both the back translation (BToV) and the draft text (VPO) open in separate tabs.

project note 2

If you need more information about inserting project notes, check out this training video:

Other Text Collection Resources

It is good to include other resources in the text collection to help you understand when the draft does not follow the model text.  The team may have a legitimate reason to deviate from the model text, such as clarifying the logic or the need to make implicit information explicit.  Having more types of resources open besides the model text can be helpful in deciding if something is actually an omission or addition.

(Having a variety of resources open can help with the drafting stage also!)

Simpler Language Translations

Sometimes the logic of the model text is difficult to follow. If you have this situation, then add resources that use simpler language such as the NIrV and the Easy English translation which are available for many translation teams. Many gateway languages also have similar translations that have simpler grammar and a limited vocabulary.

Influential Regional Languages

If there are influential regional languages, consider adding them to the text collection window for reference. At times the person who did the draft may have preferred the regional language over the model text.  In this example, I have included Hausa which is a very influential language in Nigeria which is the country for the translation project in my example. The influential languages in your area will most likely be different.

Hausa 1

Meaning-Based Translations

Consider including some meaning-based translations to your text collection.  There may well be times when the team was not able to follow the model text because of limitations in their language.  Translations such as the Good News Translation (GNTD) or the Common English Version (CEV) would be good choices in English.  Again many gateway languages will have meaning-based translations available. (This might be less helpful if the model text is itself a meaning-based translation.  However, for many teams it would be useful to include one or more meaning-based translations.)

dynamic 1

Resource for Implicit Information

An excellent resource to see implicit information for a verse is the Translation for Translators (T4T).  It is formatted in such a way that it will display acceptably in a text collection window. Teams may find it necessary to make implicit information explicit, and the T4T is a good resource for finding out what information is implicit in the text. There are other resources such as UBS Handbooks, SIL Translator’s Notes, exegetical summaries or commentaries that discussed implied information.  Unfortunately, the UBS handbooks or Translator’s Notes do not display well in a text collection, and the exegetical summaries and commentaries are only available in Translator’s Workplace for Logos. They are worth consulting if you have access to them.

t4t 1


I have shown you that translation draft and back translation projects can be included in a text collection window.  Also, I have shown you how placing the back translation over the model text in a text collection can produce a kind of “interlinear” format of those two texts.  Consider using a text collection configured in this way during your team check or consultant check.  It should help you find “missing” or “extra” bits in your translation. This layout could be useful for other tasks also.  It could be the starting point to develop layouts for other tasks.  Once you have a layout you like for a certain task, you can save it for later use.

If you need more information about saying layouts, type “How do I save a layout of open items” in Help, or watch the video:

Remember, if you have a second monitor, you can make any project, resource or tool larger by undocking it as a floating window and then dragging  it to the other monitor.

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