BibleTrans Home Page

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The Short Version

BibleTrans is an innovative computer technology which recognizes that Bible translation requires highly trained linguists to do it well, but much of the work is repetitive and with appropriate software can be automated. The skilled component can be further subdivided into a very big portion which can be shared among all translations into all languages, leaving a much smaller part to be customized for each language. The software works (download a copy here) and you can read all about it on this page and by following the links.

Make a difference! We need a leader who knows how to motivate people and wants to make things happen

Download/view 2-minute video (13MB)  Download hi-res copy (141MB)

Need Leader

The huge shared component still needs to be done by trained people before any of it can be used for real translations. I'm looking for an administrator with a heart for "finishing the job by 2026." We need management skills to work with a dozen or so linguists and exegetes building that database, plus people to train working linguists in how to use the software, and the funding to pay for it. With adequate commitment we can finish the whole job in a decade, then shut it down and go to Heaven, because "then the end will come" [Matt.24:14].

Be a part of hastening the Day of the Lord! "Even so come, Lord Jesus."


A brief introduction to BibleTrans
Presentation at Berean Baptist Church (for the layman)
Paper presented at Bible Translation 2001 (the linguist's perspective)
Philippians Project -- into English
Download a runable "demo" program
BibleTrans Business Plan

What Is BibleTrans?

BibleTrans is a project to use computer technology to greatly speed up the process of getting first-draft translations of the Bible into the 1800+ languages that still today have no part of the Bible in their language.

BibleTrans uses compiler technology to translate the Bible from a language-neutral semantic representation into any natural human language given a generative grammar for that language.

BibleTrans is not BabelFish. BibleTrans is not about word substitution at all. Word substitution is not translation. Translation requires understanding the source text. Right now, only humans do it well. BibleTrans depends on human understanding of the Bible, so that like the five loaves and two fishes, it can be multiplied to do the other part of translation, hopefully into a thousand languages (read more about it here).

If a dozen active translators each took one year off their current projects today to build the BibleTrans database, they could go back to their projects three years ahead of where they would have been if they had stayed, and at the same time they would take 1,000 years off Bible translation worldwide. For more information, see BibleTrans Business Plan.

Progress Report

I keep thinking the job is too big for one person to do alone, but who else cares?

God cares.

So here I am working on it alone again...

The BibleTrans program was originally written for Macintosh (read about it here), but has recently been rewritten to run reasonably well on a PC, and we have the book of Philippians and some of Luke (thank you Elizabeth!) encoded and ready to translate. Click here to see the current progress.

Philippians Project shows the output from BibleTrans into English (and eventually other languages). This is obviously not church-ready, but it should be good enough to give to a team of "Mother-Tongue Translators" (with no knowledge of Greek or Hebrew or English) to clean up. So far you can look at:

Other languages will become available when somebody is willing to work with me for a couple weeks to do it.

I have enough of the software working so you can download a runable "demo" program and play with it. The download program will usually be the latest version, which did the translation in the Philippians Project (or perhaps newer, if I don't get around to updating the text).

Legal  The BibleTrans software and database represent a huge investment of time and effort. We want that investment to be rewarded in the form of real Bible translations that people can read. To facilitate and encourage that outcome we are looking to use a form of "open source" license to allow anybody to contribute to the goal while ensuring that all Bible translation projects benefit from that collective effort. Some of the Design Documentation has been online from the beginning and was improved from time to time. The current source code is now online (see "Building BibleTrans").

Tom Pittman

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Rev. 2019 February 18