[sword-devel] Turkish Bible

George Washington Dunlap III sword-devel@crosswire.org
Tue, 21 Dec 1999 23:51:42 +0200 (EET)

I have some encouraging news on getting distribution permission for a
Turkish version of the bible for SWORD.  As I mentioned before, I know a
'worker' (i.e., worker for God; the 'M' word is taboo) over here, Ken
Weist, who has been involved for the last several years in a new
translation of the Bible into Turkish.  At his house tonight I described
the SWORD project, and he was rather excited about it; so much so that he
called someone high up in his chain-of-command and had me talk to him and
explain it.  Given that it was rather impromptu, I think I sold it well.
Here is the situation, as I understand it:

The new Turkish translation of the Bible was done jointly by two groups: a
bible society and a trust organized by 'workers'.  The copyright for the
NT is entirely owned by the trust, who are all for distributing scripture
as far and wide as possible.  The man I talked to, Ali, said that they
(the Trust) were very liberal with licenses; he was generally encouraged
about the idea, although he had many questions about the product and how
it could be distributed and such.

So, he said that in a week or two he'll be flying to London to talk to the
man in charge of this trust, and that if I could before then send him some
sort of credentials of the people they'd be dealing with, to make sure
we're not some fly-by-night or money-making venture; who else had given us
permission to use their text, etc.  I don't think we'll have any problem
in that area.

So far so good.  The bad news is that the copyright for the OT is jointly
owned by the Trust and by the bible society, and they both have to agree
to any licenses; so essentially, they each have veto power.  Ali's
estimation of the bible society sounds like the ones we've seen before.
He said the organization is big and full of beurocracy, so things move
slowly; furthermore, although they are liberal from the translation point
of view because they were willing to translate & publish the OT apocrypha,
from a business and copyright point of view they are conservative and not
likely to give out distribution licenses easily.

In any case, he said, the translation is freshly finished, still being
revised, proofed, and typeset:  the bible society would probably be
unwilling to release the electronic version before the printed one was

The advantage we have in this case, over other cases, is that we have
people who work closely with the bible society who can speak in our favor,
rather than someone who just "fell of a roof", to use a Turkish
expression (as in, someone appeared with no warning out of nowhere).

And Ken has the Bible in ASCII format, so building the modules ought to be

Additionally, Ken thought that the Kurdish bible would be especially
useful to have in electronic form, even if from a web page or something.
(We do have someone working on a web front-end, right?)

I'll be getting the contact information for someone appropriate in the the
bible society and the two men from the Trust in the near future; Ken will
also be mentioning my name to the various people so that I won't be
someone who just "fell off a roof".  =)

Troy, should I hand-off to you? someone else?  Perhaps I can persue
negotiations and things until they need to be taken care of by you and
hand them off then?  James Gross, will you be able to be useful when you
go to Turkey, in case they need to meet someone face-to-face?

I certanly need to give them the credenials of CrossWire Bible Society and
such, so if you can send me a good resume or something, I'd appreciate it.

That's all I have for now.  Lord willing, this will help open the door for
the other bible societies to trust our operation.

In Him,

 -George Dunlap