Jots and Tittles

Posted on Posted in Mixed Nuts

By Lori Witham
(From the Autumn 2004 Storyboard article, Three Months Later)

A Bible translator can have difficulty believing it takes an average of three months to typeset a completed New Testament and get it ready for the printers. After all, the translation team spent years making sure each book was carefully checked with various groups of vernacular speakers, as well as with a translation consultant. Even before the text is given to the Publications Department, various computer programs would have been run to find any text problems. Finally, the team is satisfied the books are ready to be typeset.

So what could remain to take three months’ time? More checking! Now it’s time to look at the jots and tittles. While typesetting the Aruamu New Testament in 2004, I kept a journal of everything the translation checking team and I did to ready the scripture for the overseas printer: Here is an edited version of that journal:

Before typesetting:

Create maps of Israel with vernacular names of places
Check punctuation marks (especially quotation marks)
Check for incorrect chapter and verse numbers
Proofread the illustration captions
Proofread the title page, copyright page, table of contents, and glossary
Check for extra spaces and lines
Create a sample page in the desktop publishing program
Set up page headers
Load one book’s text as a test

When typesetting:

Create a cover
Typeset front pages, back pages, and each book
Team reviews the picture placements

After typesetting:

Print each book as it is completed
The team reads each book out loud and marks corrections
Correct books (hopefully, only small errors by now!) and reprint
The team re-reads the entire New Testament for the final time
Change any minor corrections
Print a final “camera-ready” copy
Everyone praises God and celebrates with a dinner!

Lori is the administrator of publications and ministers by typesetting scripture.

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