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Open Access Translation (The OAT Bible) 2005-08-07

Posted by Peter Kirby at 3:30 PM | Permalink

TLAs (Three Letter Acronyms) are popular for Bible translations, so I've come up with one. The "Open Access Translation" (OAT) Bible. It would be the first Bible to be translated with a Creative Commons license. The question is--which license? The question is whether we would want the translator to be able to add this to her CV, in which case we would have to go with a "No Derivatives-By Attribution" license, or whether we would want people to be able to modify the Bible for their own purposes. For the Open Scrolls Project, J. Davila suggested that I go with the "No Derivatives-By Attribution" license, and I agreed to this. This way, all the changes to be made to the Bible could be suggested on a single website, where they could be reviewed by the general editor(s) and the editor(s) for the particular biblical book. The main contributors to each book's translation would get credit and could know that their work would not be mangled. Nonetheless, the translation could be freely copied and printed at no charge if kept intact.

In order to make such a translation, three things are necessary, or at least desirable--volunteer translators, open access translation software, and some funding (to pay the general editor? to pay a modicum to all active translators? to promote the project and the result? to legitimate the effort?).

Active volunteer translators, and even moreso competent ones and excellent editors for quality control, will be the hardest to come by. Funding, therefore, could be a way to solve that problem. But who would do the funding?

The easiest part would be open access translation software--because I would be happy to write it.

An effort began recently to provide the New Testament in plain English, at The New Testament in Plain English blog (noted via the Better Bibles Blog). I would like to merge my efforts with this one. What I envision is two websites operating in parallel, one a blog site (such as the New Testament in Plain English blog) and the other the translation itself. On the translation site, there would be plenty of resources on the Greek and Hebrew and on existing translations--think the Bible Gateway and Perseus rolled into one. There would also be the editable text of the new translation itself. Editable, that is, by submission and then approval by the editors, selected for their qualifications. There would also be links back to the blog to the posts that discuss the textual problems of particular verses. These links to the blog would be created manually through the translation site or automatically by finding words such as "John 1:1" in the blog text. Of course, I am open to suggestions on how this might work better, or questions if I'm not clear about what I envision.

PS-- I'm not concerned about the "OAT" title. Feel free to suggest a better one.

15 Comments:

Blogger Wayne Leman said...

Peter, it's good to see you thinking through the needs steps for an OAT project. BTW, I can imagine some good biblical meaning for the OAT acronym, maybe something like the old Wheaties commerical line "Hey, there you haven't had your OATS yet!" where the final "S" could be Software or some other appropriate word. But now I'm getting silly. Anyway, good ideas.

8:20 PM  
Blogger Peter Kirby said...

OATS = The Open Access Translation of Scripture. <grin>

9:29 PM  
Anonymous slaveofOne said...

I thought the NET bible (www.bible.org) was already doing this.

7:40 PM  
Anonymous Bob Firth said...

you said:
>think the Bible Gateway and Perseus rolled into one

check out www.zhubert.com

Bob

10:30 PM  
Blogger Peter Kirby said...

Making an electronic copy of the NET Bible requires permission. It is under a license that does not allow copying at will. It also doesn't allow commercialization (which must be allowed for the translation to be used on websites with advertising, in software packages, or on paper), except by bible.org.

Zhubert is great, but the main feature is to be a collaborative tool for translation efforts, which means accounts, editing capability, and version history. Having resources like the one at Zhubert available to translators is gravy.

2:01 AM  
Anonymous Zack Hubert said...

Yeah...but version control and collaborative editing are easy :)

I've actually thought about adding those but until there's collaboration there isn't a need.

-z

7:55 PM  
Blogger Jay Stevens said...

Actually I think the NET is closer to thank you think. With the release of their FIRST EDITION (i.e. non-beta), I think they've probably got it down.

See their "Ministry First" licensing approach.

3:32 AM  
Blogger Jay Stevens said...

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

4:16 AM  
Blogger Daniel said...

I know I'm way late on this... but I was just googling for creative commons bible translations.

I wanted to mention that the No Derivatives part controls more than just changing the content. You don't have permission to change the formatting if it is licensed under No Derivatives. For example, a web designer could not put it on their own site because the format is different.

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Blogger han39835 said...

I have an idea for an open project bible.

It was visionary.... I have been a bitter person for a very long time. Concerning the way the world is or was... or is not going to be anymore.

The problem is the idea that labels are placed on something supposed to be all-knowing etc.

Replace every "jesus", "God", "holy-ghost", and he pronoun (except in the instance we are talking about god(s) (little g)).

WITH THE WORD LOVE.

"Love Bible"
or
"HIPPIE BIBLE" (my favorite)

9:21 AM  

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