Bible Word Study Report Part V: Translation

This is the fifth post in my on-going series on the Bible Word Study (BWS) report.
This post will look into the Translation section of the BWS report.

To refresh our collective memories, we’re looking at 1Th 2.16. Here it is in the reverse interlinear, with the phrase in question marked up using new Visual Markup features.

What is the Translation section and what does it do? Well, to start out with, it is a funky graph/chart that displays how the study word (in our case, recall, ?????????) is translated in your preferred reverse interlinear. I have mine set as the ESV New Testament because my preferred Bible is the ESV. Note that Logos also has an NRSV NT Reverse Interlinear available; if you set your Bible KeyLink preferences (Tools|Options|Bible Tools) to prefer the NRSV, then the translation section will prefer the NRSV NT Reverse Interlinear’s alignment. (Note: If you’re running BWS on a word in the Hebrew Bible, then the ESV OT Reverse Interlinear will be used as it is, at present, the only OT text we have reverse interlinearized.)

The graph for the ESV NT should look something like this:

Reading the Graph
This translation graph initially tells us a few things:

  • In the ESV NT, the Greek word ????????? is translated as: made up, complete, anyone, fulfilled, fulfill, fill up.
  • The words “fulfill” and “fulfilled” share the same stem, or root, in English.
  • The translation distribution is fairly balanced.

How did I know all that, just by looking at the picture? The first item above is easy, it is because those English words are all connected to the Greek word with a line. This shows where the English words come from.

The second item is similar. Note the join between fulfill and fulfilled, and how the join points back to ?????????:

Regarding the third item, the translation graph for ????????? isn’t the best example, but the relative frequency of the translation can be roughly seen by comparing the font size of the translated terms. With ?????????, the translations are all the same font size, which means that the distribution is relatively even. The word is translated “fill up” about as often as it is translated “fulfill” or “complete” or anything else.

For other words, like ????? (also in 1Th 2.16, translated “last”), the distinction in font size is easier to see:

In the above screenshot, you can see that “end” is visibly larger than other words, implying that “end” is a more frequent translation of ?????.

Interacting with the Graph
As the Translation section notes, we can click on different parts (nodes) of the graph and retrieve different information. There are three different areas or things we can click:

  • Study Word:In this case, ?????????.
  • Translation:Any English word.
  • Joins:In this case, the dot joining “fulfill” and “fulfilled”.

What happens when one of these items is clicked? The software searches your ESV NT Reverse Interlinear for whatever it is you clicked on.

If you click on the study word ?????????, it will find where ????????? occurs and return the ESV text with the corresponding English words highlighted.

If you click on a translation, it will return the instances where the word in the center of the graph is translated into English as the word you clicked (For example, “Show me where ????????? is translated as ‘fulfill'”).

Similar for the join; it will return all the instances where the same English stem (root) is used to translate the word in the center of the graph.

Like this when ????????? is clicked:

Here we see that the distribution is perfectly even—????????? is never translated the same way twice. The display, like the translation graph, is dynamic. Using the first item above, let’s see what we can do:

  • translation: Clicking on this term (“fulfilled” in this example) runs the Bible Word Study report on the English word.
  • Bible reference: Clicking this reference will jump to your preferred Bible. Hovering it will show the verse in a hover window.
  • translation in context: Clicking this opens the ESV NT Reverse Interlinear to the instance in question, so that the underlying Greek (lemma, morphology, etc.) can be consulted.
  • translation occurrences / total occurrences: The leftmost number reflects the number of times that the translation occurs as a translation from the original language word. So, in this case, the number of times that “fulfilled” is translated from ?????????. The rightmost number reflects the number of times that the original language word occurs. So in this instance, the number of times that ????????? occurs in the Greek NT text that underlies the ESV.

It is important to note that if you click on the translation and invoke a new BWS report, you’re moving from studying the underlying Greek word ????????? and beginning to study the English word “fulfilled”. This is fine, one must just be aware that conclusions made based on a study of the word “fulfilled” will not necessarily apply to study of ?????????—just like study of ????????? devoid of context may not directly and completely apply to a particular instance of ????????? and its context.

So that’s the translation section. Next up: Lemma reports in the NT and other corpora!

Written by
Rick Brannan

Rick Brannan is a Data Wrangler for Faithlife. He manages a team that creates and maintains linguistic databases and other analyses of the Hebrew Bible, the Greek New Testament, the Septuagint, and writings of the Second Temple era. He resides in Bellingham with his wife, Amy, their daughter, Ella, and their son, Lucas.

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Written by Rick Brannan