Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Summary of OET versions

Well now that all of the different versions of the Open English Translation of the Bible (OET) have been announced, it's time for a brief summary of them:
  1. The Literal Version
    Closely follows the Hebrew and Greek scriptures, so the sentences are English, but still using the original vocabulary and idiom as much as possible. Extensive notes about variants in the originals.
  2. The Readers' Version
    An up-to-date free translation that's easy to read. As few distracting notes as possible. Designed for reading Bible stories easily and in full context.
  3. The Study Version
    A less free translation but with many helpful notes and cross-references. This is the one to preach from and to memorise segments from.
  4. The Extended Version
    An extended text of the Study Version, with many more notes and details also added in. Designed for lecturers and Bible translators.
These different versions are designed to be used to complement each other, especially in linked media like the Internet where two or more of them could scroll together.

The links above focus on the differences between the different versions of the OET. The following list (from here) focuses on the common features:
  • The misleading terminology Old Testament and New Testament will NOT be used
  • The terminology Major Prophets and Minor Prophets is also misleading to many readers and will NOT be used
  • Traditional chapter and verse numbers will be there, but will be downplayed to discourage their use
  • Segments which are not included in the most ancient manuscripts will be removed from the inline text
  • Wherever section headings are used (all but the Literal Version), they will be typeset/displayed in such a way so as not to interrupt the flow of the actual Scripture text
  • The so-called apocryphal books will be included in the OET (with a section name yet to be determined)
  • Eventually, the order that the books will be presented will be changed from the traditional English Protestant order
  • Each book will have an individual version number, and each major release will also have an overall version number
  • Each version will be available in multiple formats for download, including text, OpenOffice (ODF), and PDF files (both of individual books and of entire versions), USFM files, and OSIS files, and Epub electronic book files
  • It will be released under a licence that both enables and encourages others to use and build upon this work. (Most likely this will be a Creative Commons BY-SA or BY licence, but other content licences are also being considered, even Public Domain.)
 I've never seen a Bible translation project that's attempted to do things this way. Apart from wanting to make a good English Bible translation that's both open and free, it's largely an attempt to design an English translation that connects the reader with the original texts; helping them to understand where our Bible come from and some of the decisions that are made for them by the translators.

And yes, it is a very ambitious goal -- totally impossible without God's blessing! So come on volunteers...

1 comment:

  1. I absolutely love the proposal you've outlined for the OET; I am very impressed. I likewise have never encountered such a system for translating the Bible. Really what you have outlined is a general framework for how a translation can be done in a holistic, coordinated, and comprehensive way. Your principles could and should be applied to Bible translation projects the world over. There could even be a migration path to take an existing translation done, and then integrate it with the other accompanying inter-linked versions.

    Have you talked with the guys at about your ideas? I'm sure it is something they would be supportive of and it is in line with their vision. If we could get volunteers to do the translation work, perhaps they would contribute the NET Bible as a starting point for one of the versions of the OET.