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News, How-tos, and assorted Views on Accordance Bible Software.

Thursday, May 10, 2007  

Importing User Bibles, Part 2

In yesterday's post, I chronicled some of my own experiences of importing User Bibles with version 7.2. Today, I want to continue that by talking about my attempts to import a Polish Bible.

No, I don't read Polish, but I do know a missionary to Poland who has wanted a Polish Bible in Accordance for a long time. So when we were testing this feature, I asked this missionary to send me an e-text of a Polish Bible to see if I could get it to import. I soon learned that Polish would pose its own set of problems.

While the accents used by most Western European languages are represented in standard Mac Roman fonts, Polish uses a number of unusual accents, such as a crossed L or a z with a dot above it. I could strip all these accents out, but as my missionary friend put it, that would make the text "all but useless"--especially if he intended to copy and paste text from Accordance into other documents.

My next thought was that all of these special characters are included in Accordance's own Rosetta transliteration font. It was a simple matter to write a macro which would convert the Unicode accent characters to the corresponding characters in Rosetta. The question I had was whether the text would still import properly. It did, but of course it looked like gobbledegook until I used command-T (the one keyboard shortcut you absolutely must learn) and set the text font to Rosetta.

Now I had a text which looked right, but because Accordance doesn't support transliterated Bible texts, this text didn't search properly. Accordance normally lets you search transliterated text by ignoring the accents. So, for example, the crossed L would be treated like a standard L for purposes of searching. I had managed to trick Accordance into displaying transliterated text, but Accordance did not know to search this Polish Bible as transliterated text, so I quickly discovered that this text was well-nigh unsearchable.

I couldn't give my friend an Accordance Bible which wasn't searchable. After all, what's the advantage of having a Bible in Accordance if you can't utilize Accordance's powerful search capabilities?

The solution I came up with was to create two user Bibles: one with the accents for display purposes, and one without the accents for purposes of searching. By setting the unaccented version as the search text and displaying the accented version in parallel, my friend can now search the one and copy and paste from the other.

Obviously, one text which did it all would be preferable to two, but this is a good example of how with a little ingenuity, you can stretch the user Bible feature to accommodate unusual texts. Someone on our forums has already asked about importing a Lithuanian Bible. I would suggest handling that text in much the same way.

My missionary friend was very happy to have access to his Polish Bible in Accordance, and in the course of our e-mail exchanges, he even taught me a bit about the language. It seems Polish is a heavily inflected language with no less than 7 different cases. In the example above, you can see how I've used a wildcard symbol to find multiple inflections of the same word (or is it more than one related word?). He said that the wildcard feature would certainly come in handy, but he jokingly told me a grammatically tagged Polish Bible would be better!

At least, I think he was joking. . .

Hmmm.... this is just a half solution. I was also looking for this feature and was very excited that finally I'll be able to import Latvian Bible. (Somehow I even didn't find any menu wehre I could import text. Today I found by consulting Help.) But using only Latin letters is making all this nice feature useless, because without proper Latvian letters several dozens of words may have completely different meaning. I think that full Unicode support (at least in the Bible text modules) is the only answer to these language problems.

I omitted to specify in the Help (Doing Your Own Thing/User Bibles) that the text must be saved with MacRoman encoding, not Unicode, or Windows or any of the other options. Unicode user Bibles are NOT on the horizon, sorry!

I will convert Latvian text so that it is shown properly on my screen in Accordance, but I still won't be able to copy/paste it somewhere else (Word or Mellel, for example), because it won't have proper Latvian letters anymore, right?
How about so called "shadow" file? In some applications they use "shadow" files when two files are needed. One is shown, the other one is just for the system. Maybe this could be some work-arround? I wouldn't need to look at the version which doesn't have Latvian letters... In its place I could use some English text instead.

Can you give a sample bible text with tagging so that I can see how to format a bible? Also, (I posted this on the forum as well) I'd like to know how you got the ˀššḏṯṭḥǵˁ type symbols on the text. Email kveldalf @ gmail . com

Sorry, we cannot support non-Roman languages in user Bibles. It will be easier to make User Tools where you have much more flexibility and can use Rosetta and Yehudit fonts correctly.

Helen.... not to beat the bush, again... but "guntis" is right.

Lack of Unicode is the one thing that is holding back Accordance. Please.... for all the billions who don't use roman characters...


I tried to import a bible text and set the format as required in the instructions. When I imported the file I get the following message:

"This Text cannot be imported because there are too many paragraphs markers (¶) used in the text."

I had imported the New Testament successfully, but when I added the Old testament to the file it came up with the above message...

What is the limit of these Paragraph Markers, if any?


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