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Underscore proper names in Chinese Bible texts


Allan Tsai
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Please consider underscoring proper names in Chinese Bible texts.

 

In most (if not all) of the print versions of the Chinese Bible translations I've seen, proper names are underscored to help distinguish the names out of the rest of the Chinese characters. It is also done in the YouVersion Bible app.

 

As far as I understand, proper names are made up of Chinese characters that sound similar to the original Biblical name and do not necessarily correspond to a meaning. For new Chinese learners (and I think new Christians even) it can be difficult to pick out the proper name from the text.

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While I don't speak Chinese and am probably not going to learn, it does seem like it would be useful. You can potentially do this yourself, though it may take some time. The obvious way is to highlight it with the underline style whenever you come to a name. An alternative would be to use one of the more complete dictionaries and search for all uses of a name and apply the underlining. Someone more familiar with accordance would need to comment on this, but hopefully it is possible to then share the highlights. 

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Please consider underscoring proper names in Chinese Bible texts.

 

In most (if not all) of the print versions of the Chinese Bible translations I've seen, proper names are underscored to help distinguish the names out of the rest of the Chinese characters. It is also done in the YouVersion Bible app.

 

I'm surprised to hear they are not underlined. I'd be surprised if the text that the accordance modules are based upon do not include the appropriate metadata to include the underlining. 

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You can potentially do this yourself, though it may take some time. ... Someone more familiar with accordance would need to comment on this, but hopefully it is possible to then share the highlights. 

 

Did you really just tell someone to highlight every transliterated name in their Chinese bible module? :) 

 

For those that don't know, Underlining transliterated names in Chinese is more akin to punctuation being missing, than to highlighting names.

 

It solves a problem that is unique to Chinese (a problem not obvious to someone who only reads English).  i.e. "Matthew" in the Chinese bible is written with the characters "horse" "big" "bless" "sound". Placing an underline under transliterated names ensures the reader is not confused by the transliterations.

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Did you really just tell someone to highlight every transliterated name in their Chinese bible module? :) 

 

For those that don't know, Underlining transliterated names in Chinese is more akin to punctuation being missing, than to highlighting names.

 

It solves a problem that is unique to Chinese (a problem not obvious to someone who only reads English).  i.e. "Matthew" in the Chinese bible is written with the characters "horse" "big" "bless" "sound". Placing an underline under transliterated names ensures the reader is not confused by the transliterations.

 

Well to be fair I was suggesting that someone do it and then share with everyone else :) . Ideally I wouldn't anticipate anyone doing that all at once, but as they read the bible daily to underline the names. The preferred solution would obviously be if accordance did it, as it wouldn't be so time consuming. I completely understand why it is a problem and obviously Accordance should have a solution for it. 

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Ah, we actually don't have anyone on staff that speaks Chinese. I don't think you want to see the results if one of us tried to do it.

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Ah, we actually don't have anyone on staff that speaks Chinese. I don't think you want to see the results if one of us tried to do it.

As far as I know, in a few years there are more born again Chinese people than Americans.

 

So to add a Chinese person to the staff would be a good investment.

 

Greetings

 

Fabian

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  • 2 weeks later...

I don't have a pure Chinese bible at home right now, only an English-Chinese interlinear, however it should be sufficient to show what a Chinese bible looks. I've picked a page with genealogies to better illustrate the issue. Essentially, how do you tell the names apart from the rest of the words? Like this:

 

post-33292-0-26399600-1473930645_thumb.jpg

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Very interesting! I was not aware of that convention.

 

I can tell you the text we acquired did not have the names underlined. In fact, I just reviewed five different online sites with Chinese Bibles and not one of them has names underlined either. I used 1 Chr. 1:1 to check.

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  • 3 weeks later...

@Timothy,

 
Thank you for giving some attention to this issue.
 
From Accordance's perspective I understand that you:
  1. Do not have Chinese staff
  2. Do not have the underline data in your current texts
  3. Have seen that some Chinese Bible's online do not have underlining.
May I ask Accordance to consider the perspective of the both actual and potential Chinese-language users who:
  1. Are used to using underlining in print Bibles, small groups, Bible studies, sermons, presentations, announcements etc. (And this even in nations that have Chinese as their national language).
  2. Can find other popular websites that do have underlined Chinese Bibles. See https://www.bible.com/bible/139/1ch.1 and https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=matthew+1&version=CSBT
  3. Might expect (as I do) a premier Bible study software like Accordance to include the underlining for Chinese texts because it is so common in print.
  4. Might be disappointed in and repelled from using Accordance for Chinese Bible study and (as I am) because of the lack of underlining.
For more than 10 years I have been quite pleased with not only Accordance's utility but also your openness to consider it's users in making changes to the software. I hope that such user focus will continue and that Accordance will take this issue into greater consideration.
 
Thank you!
Edited by Allan Tsai
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1. Given that the data files don't have the underlining it does make the task somewhat more difficult. That said, an intern should be able to get a complete list of chinese transliterated names, and after a "search/replace" sanity check the results. If there were any minor issues created by a "search/replace" that were missed, I am sure people could report them. 

 

2. I find it difficult to find an analogy to help English readers understand the importance or unimportance of the underlining. The closest analogy I can think of, would be like having an English bible that didnt have quote/talking marks. It would still be possible to read, but would create a "strain" of sort having to mentally create the "boundaries" in the text that have been missing.

Edited by Ιακοβ
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don't know how I missed this post.

this feature would be great. 

I tried to post an image of my Chinese bible to show it, but can't seem to add it to the message. When I click "Image" above, and drop a link to a picture on my Mac, I just get a question mark.

Any ideas?

 

Thanks

John

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Save the image as a PNG (or TIFF). Hit More Reply Options below the posting text box. Attach the image

 

Thx

D

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Not sure if this has worked with the attachment..

I hope it shows that proper names are underlined. Some translated names into Chinese are obvious (eg Mary) , but others are essentially a phonetic spelling ( Just think Bee Leaf for believe, for example) so underlining them is a great help.

 

but thanks for the tips!!!!

 

John

 

post-34457-0-61742300-1580225233_thumb.jpg

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On 8/29/2016 at 2:52 AM, SimpleTheist said:

While I don't speak Chinese and am probably not going to learn, it does seem like it would be useful. You can potentially do this yourself, though it may take some time. The obvious way is to highlight it with the underline style whenever you come to a name. An alternative would be to use one of the more complete dictionaries and search for all uses of a name and apply the underlining. Someone more familiar with accordance would need to comment on this, but hopefully it is possible to then share the highlights. 

I think it would be easier to use a Chinese Bible with underscore proper names. And with a script transfer this to the other Chinese texts.

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Posted (edited)

deleted

Edited by Fabian
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