Planning in Chinese over paper Alignment Explained

Clear serves Great Commission organizations by giving Bible translators visibility into the meaning and structure of the original Hebrew and Greek, which empowers translators to check their work as they go, improves their drafting, increases accuracy, reduces external dependencies, and shortens the overall project time. One of the primary ways we accomplish this is through the power of alignment of Bible translations to the original Greek and Hebrew source texts.

Below is an example of how alignment can be used in translating or checking a verse of Scripture. Please note the following:

  • This example uses French as the bridge language and Vietnamese as the target language.
  • The descriptions to the right of each section identify each layer in the process.
  • The green and red boxes around certain words below are added to clarify the example.
  • This is one example of what alignment can look like. There are other possible expressions of how alignment may be shown in a project.
  • The verse displayed is Matthew 1:1.
Alignment Explained1

Manuscript Syntax Tree

  • Shows the syntactic structure of the verse, where we see noun phrases (np) like “Jesus Christ”, “son of David”, “son of Abraham”, etc. and their relationship to each other: “son of David” and “son of Abraham” are conjoined in apposition with “Jesus Christ”, forming a big np which modifies “genealogy” and so on.

Manuscript Strong Numbers and Gloss

  • The Strong numbers represent the root forms of each word and the gloss provides the meaning of each word in English.

Manuscript Text

  • The original Greek/Hebrew/Aramaic text (Greek when working on the New Testament, Hebrew with the Old Testament)

Links between Manuscript and Bridge Translation

  • The Bridge translation is the alternative source text for translation when the Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic original texts are not the exclusive direct source. It is in a language that the translator knows well (French in the example). It is linked to the Greek text so that we can see that “Voici” is not from Greek and therefore does not have to be translated. On the other hand, “descendance” has two source words in the original Greek. Therefore, we can translate both instances of “son” in the target translation if we choose to, not necessarily following the French way.
  • The lines link the corresponding words in Greek and the bridge translation. The links can be one-to-one, one-to-many, many-to-one, or many-to-many, with the lines with * representing links that are not one-to-one: the Greek words for “record” and “genealogy” are linked to a single word “généalogie” in French; the Greek word for “son”, which appears twice in the original text, is linked to a single word “descendance” in French.

Links between Bridge Translation and Target Translation

  • The lines link the corresponding words in the bridge translation and the target translation. We can see that “Ðây là” is from the French “Voici”, but not from the Greek. We also see two instances of “con cháu” which corresponds to the two instances of “son” in Greek, through the single word “descendance” in French. The presence of the Greek text makes it possible to clearly see the differences in how the bridge translation and the target translation align to the Greek. In addition, we can see that “Ðức Chúa” (which means “God” or “the Lord” in Vietnamese) is not linked. This tells the translator or the translation consultant that these words are added by the translator.
  • The translation we are creating (in Vietnamese in this case) is in the bottom box.  The translation text is linked to the Greek original through the bridge translation as soon as the editing is done.