Glossaries can be an important source of explanatory information for Bible readers. In her short article about glossaries, Katherine Barnwell gives several bits of helpful advice. Concerning when to begin a glossary she states:
“Translators should not wait until the New Testament is completed before starting to think about a glossary. As you are translating, make note of items that you will want to include in a glossary.
Prepare the glossary in the receptor language in time to allow for testing. The entries should be tested along with the Bible text.
Even a preliminary Scripture publication of a single book should include a glossary (relevant to that book only). This is an opportunity to test the glossary and also to train readers to use it.”
I have seen that some translation projects merely translate the glossary from a major language translation. This approach may include unneeded terms and leave out important terms that should be included. Again, Barnwell give some important advice:
“Glossary entries will be different for each particular language, depending on the way each idea has been translated in the text and on the culture of that language area. For example, if some local cultural feature has the same function as in the ancient Jewish culture, no glossary entry is needed. Similarly, if some unknown idea has been successfully translated in a fully meaningful way in the text, a glossary entry is not needed.”
If you and your team do decide to base your glossary on an existing glossary, I recommend that you consider Barnwell’s advice and delete entries that are not necessary because they are fully understood in the text, and that you add terms that were not in the model glossary but need more explanation in your vernacular translation.
Characteristics of a Well-formed Glossary
Well-formed glossaries should be:
- Alphabetized according to the vernacular alphabet and not that of a language of wider communication.
- Linked to the verses where the terms occur to make it easier for readers to use.
Paratext has ways to accomplish both of these criteria without too much effort!
Although there is no specific glossary tool in Paratext, the functionality for building a glossary is built into the Biblical terms tool. While it is possible to simply type a glossary into the glossary book (GLO) in your project, building the glossary through the Biblical terms tool will alphabetize your glossary according to the sort order in the language settings of your project:
It can be a lot of work to move glossary entries around manually as terms are added. How much better to let Paratext do this for you!
Paratext also has a function for marking terms in the vernacular text that have glossary entries. In the print version of your text, readers will see an “*” next to the word alerting them that there is a glossary entry for that word:
In Scripture apps, the word will have an active link to the glossary entry. Just click on it, and the glossary entry will open in a pop-up window. This marking of the words for glossary entries is done in the Biblical terms tool because that is where Paratext stores the information for each of the Biblical terms in your project and the verses where they occur. (Words that are not a Biblical term for your project most likely do not need a glossary entry.)
How to Add a Glossary Entry
The word “Sabbath” occurs in Matthew 12 in several places. Let’s imagine a translation team encounters this term and that they don’t have an equivalent word. They decide it should be a Biblical term for their project and that the meaning and importance in Jewish culture needs to be explained in their glossary. In my test project PTP, “Sabbath” is translated as “Res Day” or sometimes “Jew Res Day”.
Right-click on the verse containing the Biblical term. The right-click context menu will open.
Click on View Biblical Terms –> Current verse(s)
Double-click on the Renderings box for the row containing “Sabbath”.
The Edit Renderings dialogue will open.
Click on the Glossary tab. This will display the Glossary tab so you can edit it.
Click in the box to the right of Citation Form and type the citation form. The citation form is otherwise called the headword for the glossary. Words can have many forms in a translation. Nouns can occur in the singular or the plural and verbs can have many different tenses. The headwords in a glossary should be like those that appear in a dictionary. The citation form for nouns are typically singular, and verbs are infinitives or whichever form a dictionary for that language would use.
As you type a citation form, Paratext will display existing Glossary entries that match what you have typed:
If you see the Glossary entry you are looking for, click on it to link it to this rendering:
Otherwise, finish typing the citation form.
Type in the definition. A flashing red exclamation mark will appear to remind you to enter a definition.
TIP: If you are not good at creating definitions, then you could enter a standard phrase with a hashtag like “#To be filled in later”. It is important at least to mark the words that will need glossary entries when you identify them.
NOTE: Glossary definitions are usually in the vernacular. This definition is in English for instructional purposes only.
Click the OK button to complete the process and close the dialogue.
NOTE: If your project did not already have a glossary book, one will be created for you the first time you add an entry in the method we have just described.
Checking the New Entry
If we now open the glossary, we will see the entry for “Res Day”, and it will be properly alphabetized. If it is not properly alphabetized that means the Language settings for you project are not correct.
NOTE: The glossary is one of the extra books that appears after Revelation, and has the short name GLO.
How to Mark Terms that have a Glossary Entry
To link terms in the text with the corresponding glossary entry, each term or phrase must be preceded by \w and followed by \w*. If you were to do this task manually, it would take a very long time. Paratext can mark occurrences of glossary words in the text with just a few clicks and even gives you flexibility as to how often the terms will be marked. Rather than marking every occurrence, Paratext gives you the following choices for marking terms found in the glossary:
- First occurrence in every paragraph
- First occurrence in every section
- First occurrence in every chapter
- All occurrences
Typically, you will only want to tell Paratext to mark the terms with glossary entries when you are ready to print or make a Scripture app for one or more books. In the following example, I am assuming we have finished the book of Matthew and are ready to do a limited printing or create a Scripture app.
Open the Biblical terms tool (Use whatever method you are accustomed to).
Set the Scripture range to Current book, and the filter to Glossary entries. (I am assuming the project is still in Matthew.)
Select all of the Biblical terms displayed in the tool.
If the list is long, then use the shift-click method to select the entire list. To do the this method, click on the first entry, press and hold the shift key then click on the last term listed in the tool.
Click on the main menu for the Biblical terms tool window
Click on Link selected renderings to glossary.
Select the frequency of markup that you want
Click on the OK button to complete the process and close the dialogue.
Minimize or close Biblical terms tool
Verifying the Markup in the Text
Now you can look at your text and verify that Paratext has indeed inserted the markers for you with the frequency you specified. Looking back at Matthew 12 in my test project, we see that the first occurrence of one of the approved renderings is marked up with \w…\w*, and has the citation form in the text. The markers and the citation form are grey indicating that they will not be visible when the text is printed.
Notice that Paratext did not markup the second occurrence of an approved rendering in the text. If you remember I had select the First occurrence in every section option when I asked Paratext to add the glossary markup to the text for me.
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