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1. Paratext Course Introduction

This manual covers all six stages of translation. You cannot cover everything in one course. We suggest at least three courses with annual reviews.

  • Course 1: Stage 1 and 2 plus any other modules needed by your participants.
  • Course 2: Review Stage 1 and 2, Stage 3 and 4 plus any other modules.
  • Course 3: Stage 5 and 6 plus any other modules. This may be done with an individual team as they publish a book.

1.1 Goal

The participants will process their translation with the help of Paratext 9, a program created for entering, storing, and checking the translated texts. They will also print drafts for revision.

The course follows the six stages of translation as given in the SIL Compact base plan. [The four stages of the UBS plan equate to stages 1, 2, 5, and 6]

1.2 Course Objectives

At the end of the courses, the participant will be able to:

Start Paratext 9

  • Start the Paratext 9 program using a desktop icon (or Start Menu).

Stage 1: Drafting

Open projects and resources to understand the text before translating

  • Open projects and additional resources, for example an English Bible, a source text, a source text dictionary, etc.
  • Organise these windows on the screen and save as a text combination.

Enter the translation

  • Effectively use the navigation toolbar to move to the desired book, chapter, and verse.
  • Type the text in an open project with the help of USFM markers such as \c, \v, etc. in a suitable view.
  • Use a keyboarding system (MS-keyboards or Keyman) to type special characters.
  • Add additional markers for section headings, introductions, etc.
  • Add footnotes.
  • Draft glossary entries and add using the Biblical terms tool.
  • Use the Send/Receive feature to share and backup their project to the Internet or a USB key.

Basic checks

  • Run the chapter/verses check to make sure that all the chapters/verses are present.
  • Run the markers check to make sure all the text has the correct markers.

Assignments and progress

An Administrator has to add a project plan to the project.

  • Update the Assignments and Progress with any completed tasks.

Stage 2: Team checking

Proper names

  • Transliterate proper names.
  • Check that proper names are consistent.

Biblical terms consistent

  • Use the Biblical terms rendering window and tool to ensure you are consistent in the use of terms.


  • Draft glossary entries and add/link using the Biblical terms tool.


  • Use Checklists to correct any formatting problems in section breaks and headings, paragraph breaks, layout and indents.

  • Run various checks to make sure all the characters, punctuation, capitalisation and repeated words are valid.

    (Administrators need to setup the inventories/settings as required).

  • Correct any spelling mistakes using the spell checking function and/or checks from the Wordlist.

Using notes

  • Add project notes as needed to communicate with other team members and/or consultants.
  • Add project, Spelling and Biblical term notes to discuss various issues and record the decisions made.

Print draft

  • Produce and print PDF file for reviewers.

Stage 3: Prepare for a consultant check

  • Prepare a back translation
  • Back translation 1 (free)
  • Back translation 2 (word by word)
  • Complete other checks
    • Check References, Quoted Texts, Numbers, Unmatched Pairs of Punctuation, Quotations
  • Spell Checking

Stage 4: Consultant Check

  • Use appropriate collaboration tools so the team can interact with the consultant.

Stage 5: Community testing

  • Prepare a progress report.
  • Prepare a Biblical terms report.

Stage 6: Finalising for publication

  • Add illustrations and captions
  • Identify the names for any maps to be included.
  • Add an introduction to the NT / Bible
  • Compare the parallel passages
  • Confirm that all the other checks have been completed.
  • Finalise check of proper names.
  • Check numbers, money, weights and measures
  • Final format checks.

1.3 Course Plan

Introductions, setup

Introduce yourself

The participant and facilitators should introduce themselves giving:

  • their name
  • their language
  • their town
  • what was the first and last (most recent) version of Paratext that you have used.

While the facilitators install Paratext 9 on the computers, the participant should read the introductory material and tick (check) the objectives that they feel confident doing in the most recent version of Paratext they have used.

For each module

  • Do a revision activity of the previous module.
  • Present the introduction (read, sketch, PowerPoint, etc.)
  • If a skill is quite simple, ask a participant to come and demonstrate the skill.
  • Follow the summary for the other skills:
    • Demonstration
    • Do it together
    • Let the participants redo it themselves
  • Ask a participant to demonstrate the skill.
  • Ask questions.
  • Do a revision activity.
  • Give the participant time to reflect, fill in the recall exercise, add to Anki.