NETS First Instructions for NETS Translators

Dear NETS translator:

Enclosed is the promised Translators Manual. We urge you to familiarize yourself thoroughly with its contents. No Manual, however, can be expected to provide an answer to every question, and the present one is no exception. Consequently, we offer you two additional aids in your work on the NETS project:

    1. An electronic list, exclusively for NETS translators, on which you are urged to post questions for discussion by fellow translators, including the members of the Translation Committee, and

    2. A feed-back service (for lack of a better term) to which you are encouraged to submit, for initial reaction, segments of your assignment.

You can subscribe to the list by emailing to:

with the message in the body of the email:

    subscribe nets-l <your name>

where you will substitute your name without the angle brackets (< >). If you encounter any difficulties, please contact Ben Wright whose addresses appear below.

As you can see, it is assumed that all translators have access to email, and currently no provision exists to communicate day-to-day material in any other way. If you do not have access to the Internet, and are considering it, it would greatly facilitate your work and that of the committee if you if you were to link up. Access to the World Wide Web, as an extension of the Internet, is not necessary at this time, only email capability. In addition to logging into NETS-L, it would be helpful if you would email me to indicate that you have received the Manual, and to ensure that I have your current small address, at:

We would like to emphasize the patently obvious truth that an ounce of prevention is far better than a pound of cure! We hope you will assist the Committee in identifying actual as well as potential problem areas at their earliest possible stage.

It is anticipated that much of what the Manual contains will only come into full focus once the translation process has begun. We suggest, therefore, that you make a draft of the initial chapters of your assignment and then subject your work to your own thorough re- assessment, in an effort to hone your methods and procedures. Should you desire more objective evaluation you are encouraged to avail yourself of the feed-back service mentioned above. From the outset you will want to compile a file (or files) for all sorts of information that you uncover along the way and that will assist you in making your work as uniform as possible. Also, please remember that a long term goal of the IOSCS is the sponsoring of a commentary series on the so-called Septuagint.

As will be apparent, the Manual has little to say, apart from editorial detail, about how to translate Greek texts which lack a Hebrew Vorlage, whether by historical accident or by original design. The reason for its relative silence may be explained as follows. The central aim of the NETS project has been, from its inception, to provide an English translation for comparative use with the NRSV. Since the so-called Apocrypha lack parallel texts in Greek and Hebrew, their inclusion within NETS is, in the first instance, for the sake of completeness. For the same reason, the translational strategy one adopts with respect to them will of necessity be different. Though one may start with the NRSV, one would scarcely feel any constraint to keep within its parameters. One might, for instance, wish to adopt an English style that more closely reflects the style of the Greek. Unfortunately, the best the Committee can do at present is to suggest that the translators of the Apocrypha work out appropriate strategies within the general parameters of NETS in consultation with the Committee and in co-operation with fellow translators.

The Translation Committee has decided on the following review process:

    1. Initial drafts may be submitted to the feed-back service (see above).

    2. A formal submission (i.e. after any initial drafts) should be as finished a product as possible. That is to say, from the translator's perspective the translation should be in final draft.

    3. After initial review by the Committee, submissions will be sent out for review by (if at all possible) two fellow NETS translators who are responsible for related materials within the Greek corpus.

    4. Reviews will be submitted to the Translation Committee and then transmitted to the translator for reaction.

    5. The Committee will adjudicate any disagreements between translator and reviewers and take ultimate responsibility for the final form of each book, and the work as a whole

As for timetable, the current schedule is:

    1. Formal submissions should be made no later than May 31, 1999, but it is hoped that many will be made considerably earlier. The Committee looks to hear from you in the near future about your individual projection.

    2. The review process should take no more than one year. Thus a submission made May 31, 1999 will be ready for translator's reactions by May 31, 2000 and is to be re-submitted by August 31 of the same year.

    3. Final editing by the TC will be completed within one calendar year after the re-submission of the manuscript.

Since manuscripts submitted for review will not be in the final layout, they can either be in standard ASCII, or one of the approved word-processing programs, yet to be decided. Any notes to be included should be tagged at the appropriate place in the text., rather than as footnotes or endnotes.

Finally, credit for each book or section will be given to the translator, within the overall framework of the project.

We hope our combined efforts will result in an English translation of the Septuagint of which both we and future generations can be proud.

The Translation Committee