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Paratext is the result of many years of work and collaboration by United Bible Societies and SIL, with input from many Bible translators around the world. It is designed to assist in Biblical exegesis, translation, checking, and publication of the Scriptures.
Every WORD matters, every TONGUE counts
We want to see accurate translations of God’s word for every people, in a form they can understand and engage with. We want to make Paratext available as widely as possible to those who share this goal.
Paratext is free. Anyone may download and register Paratext. To use Paratext, all users must be registered online.
If you have installed Paratext, you can work on a translation project locally on your computer and use a limited set of freely licensed resources. We hope to add resources to this set as they become available. To get the most out of Paratext, including access to many resources that are available only to qualified translators, we encourage every eligible translator to be authorized through their translation organization or as an independent translator.
Paratext is supplied “AS IS” without any warranties. UBS and SIL assume no responsibility or liability for the use or misuse of the software.
We expect Paratext users to observe copyright law and practice basic ethical principles. We reserve the right to revoke access to the product under the following circumstances :
Many of Paratext’s Scripture and Bible translation resources are restricted to vetted members of the translation community. These resources include over one thousand Scripture translations in many languages, translator’s guides, source language resources, lexicons, and enhanced resources. They are made available to Bible translators working in the minority languages of the world. While translations into major languages are also sometimes done in Paratext, it is by larger translation organizations with which we have a relationship. It is not our practice to give Independent Translators access to these free resources for work in majority languages.
Users gain access to these resources when they are vetted as having a Bible translation role with their translation organization during user registration. If they are not part of an organization, they can apply to the Paratext Board of Governors under the category of Independent Translator.
The Board of Governors will respond to the request within two weeks. A vetting process will begin that should take less than a month if complete information was provided. The applicant will be informed of any issues along the way. If there are no objections, the board of governors will approve the addition of the organization or independent translator to the Paratext registry.
Projects are registered to take advantage of the collaborative features of the Paratext ecosystem, and to unlock certain features of the software. It also enables enough transparency between organizations in the registry to avoid accidentally starting new projects in languages where work is already underway. The registry promotes collaboration, while also giving options to protect the confidentiality of projects where it is needed.
Paratext functionality is made available to projects in three tiers: Basic, Translator, and Publisher
Unregistered projects are in the Basic Tier and have the ability to create and edit texts, print and export them, and access a limited number of freely licensed resources.
When a project is registered it is automatically added to the Translator Tier with these added abilities:
When a Translation Tier project has not been contested by Project Reviewers during the review period (see below), it is automatically advanced to the Publisher Tier with access to the following:
At this point, the project may be typeset for print in Adobe InDesign® through the use of Publishing Assistant. It should be noted that Publishing Assistant is only made available to those who have completed an official training course.
We encourage first translations in languages without Scripture while discouraging competing translation work in a given language. We favor projects that promote cooperation among Bible translators instead of competition. Our definition of competition is the deliberate targeting of a translation for an audience that is already served by an existing translation project or text, using similar translation principles and style. Translations for different audiences in the same language are not considered to be competitive. To avoid mischaracterization during the review process, a project’s target audience, unique features, and other descriptive information should be clearly identified on its registration page.
After registration, organizations will have 30 days to review their own projects to check for accuracy in the description, and if necessary to amend any registrations.
After that, the Project Registration Reviewers of external organizations will be notified of the new registration. The Project Reviewer in each organization has an opportunity to see the description of newly registered projects from other organizations. Projects that are marked as confidential will only be seen by a confidential registration reviewer in each of SIL and UBS to minimize exposure. Assuming there are no issues, the project will advance to the Publishing Tier after a few more weeks.
In all areas, organizations should first attempt to work out issues between each other. If unsuccessful, the board of governors may be contacted to attempt mediation. The following two areas may result in action being taken by the board:
In cases where competition is a perceived threat, the board may be called on to intervene. If mediation fails, the competing project will not be granted access to the Publishing Tier with its advanced publishing tools.
After investigating, the board may decide to: