[sword-devel] sword-devel Digest, Vol 78, Issue 38

Matthew Patenaude mnglfiddle at gmail.com
Wed Sep 29 18:52:36 MST 2010

I have posted my replies in-line...

> Hi Matthew,
> You can find the bible for Android that uses JSword at
> http://code.google.com/p/and-bible/.  There was another bible for Android
> based on Sword called Bishop and it appears that Gary at CrossConnect has
> continued development of that code and has a beta release but I don't
> really
> know much about that.
> I use an old G1 which is a very low spec mobile and it runs fine.  I used
> to
> have Android 1.6 but upgraded to 2.2 and both versions were fine.  The
> bible
> has not yet been put on App Market so that is why you can't find it there.
> It would be useful if you could give feedback regarding how the Chinese
> bibles work on the Android bible s/w.  I did install a Chinese module but
> can't read Chinese.  Also if you do some testing on and-bible can you raise
> (or fix) any issues.

Thanks very much, I will try that asap. I can certainly test and-bible and
try out the Chinese text. I am familiar with some basic coding, but I don't
think I could fix any issues.

I do have a question regarding the Chinese text used in the Sword Project
over all, however. I am curious where you got the text, because there are
some anomalies in it. For instance, a very common character (means 'have') -
有 - always shows up as a similar looking, but entirely different character -
冇. This character shows up probably at least once every other sentence, at
least, and sometimes more than once per sentence. Never (say using Xiphos or
BibleTime) have I seen the correct character in the text. When I copy/paste
(for developing messages or teaching material...), I always first paste the
text into Gedit or a different program, and do a find/replace for that
character, and any other that might be a problem. That one character is the
most frequent.

Another issue is with the Simplified Character CUV (the text I am referring
to, called in the repositories CUVS), that there are a few characters that
still show up as their complex forms, instead of simplified. I am curious as
to where you got the text you use. Actually, your text is not the only one
like that. Other software seems to use the same Chinese text.

I previously figured someone swapped out the two characters above due to
visual restraints since the only thing missing is the two bars inside, but
no other characters have had that done to them. (The character that the text
uses, actually occurs nowhere in the Chinese Bible itself, so it is easy to
always read the "冇" as a "有" - but obviously that is not the best option.)

Some people contribute ui translations to and-bible by translating
> strings.xml and arrays.xml.  Thomas has proposed doing a translation of all
> languages using a Google tool but I don't know how well the Google tool
> would handle Chinese, so it would be good to have a manual translation of
> the ui in Chinese.

I'll look into that. I have done some of that with my company's website, for
the Drupal theme that I use - there was oddly no Chinese translation for the
theme I preferred...

> There does not seem to be a Mongolian bible available on CrossWire but you
> may be able to help out in that respect.  There are a few comments
> regarding
> a potential Mongolian bible here:
> http://www.crosswire.org/wiki/Module_Requests.  It would be great to have
> a
> Mongolian bible available for download so that could be an area you could
> help out.  David Haslam seems to have looked into this.

I will comment more on the question below, but to directly address your
question... I know a young man who a few years ago was living in Mongolia at
the same time as I was, and claimed that they had developed a sword module
for the main Mongolian translation in use, the one linked to in the link
above. But that was some 5 or more years ago now, and nothing has shown up
in the repositories, so I have no idea what happened. He seemed to think at
the time that one was going to be available soon, but I don't know what the
deal was with that, and I have lost all contact with him.

> Best regards
> Martin
> ------------------------------
> Message: 2
> Date: Wed, 29 Sep 2010 05:57:49 -0700 (PDT)
> From: David Haslam <d.haslam at ukonline.co.uk>
> To: sword-devel at crosswire.org
> Subject: Re: [sword-devel] question regarding Android front end
> Message-ID: <1285765069269-2718944.post at n4.nabble.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
> Matthew,
> I would suggest you subscribe to the CrossWire mailing list called
> mobile-devel.
> To subscribe or unsubscribe via the World Wide Web, visit
> http://www.crosswire.org/mailman/listinfo/mobile-devel
> http://www.crosswire.org/mailman/listinfo/mobile-devel
> Martin Denham is developing the SWORD front-end for the Android OS.
> >From what I read in the emails, this is coming along fine.
> Thanks, will do that. :)

> We already have good contacts for Chinese Bible translations.
> Do you have any suitable contact for Mongolian Bible translation[s]?
> e.g. Whereby CrossWire could begin to discuss permissions with the
> copyright
> owners.

I am actually one of the translators for a Mongolian translation team that
is going from the KJ/TR/Mas texts into Mongolian, however, it is a slow
progress. I am quite sure though, that once we are ready for it, we would
gladly help get it together into a Sword module. :) I do mean slow progress,
though. Only several books of the NT have been finished, and only one is
polished to the extent that it can be put out.

> What can you tell us about the debate about the terminology used to
> translate certain terms into Mongolian?
> e.g. The preferred words to translate, "the Almighty", etc.
> David

Did you really have to open *that* can of worms?! :) You must be aware, then
of some of the issues. I won't get into them all here - not the place for
it, of course - but long story short, when I went to Mongolian first (2000),
I was under the impression that large groups of people were using Buddha's
name to refer to God. That idea was propagated by a well meaning but very
bitter translator, who has pushed that idea very hard. Unfortunately, there
is a lot of pride and feelings attached to this whole thing, and it has been
a big mess.

Lesson learned however, to never just believe the reports I hear without
personally investigating it... After serious language and culture study, I
and a number of other men working there eventually realized that the word in
question was not by any means Buddha's name, and is in fact the closest
thing to a generic word 'god' that exists in the language. The big issue is
between a very dynamic equivalent paraphrase (they say they are reworking it
into more of a translation at present), and a more formally equivalent
version from the ASV, which uses what the first group considers to be
Buddha's name in place of "God" (the version linked to in your module
requests link). The word is in fact a very appropriate word for "god",
either capital 'G', or little 'g', but the heated discussions continue.

To demonstrate (we discovered in fact that they never use the word as
Buddha's actual name, but only if they are speaking about Buddha *as a god*)
how the word is used, they use the word ('burkhan', if you're interested -
бурхан) to refer to any foreign 'god' in direct opposition to Buddha. By the
way, the word, as far as we can tell (we have access to the best historians
and Mongolists in the country, as well as sources in Inner Mongolia), the
word predates Buddhism (although the other 'faction' claims it just stems
from an earlier excursion of Buddhism, or from Sanskrit via Tibetan) in
Mongolia. In fact, the word shows up as a generic term for 'god' in most of
the eastern Siberian languages as well, which never had connection with
Buddhism when this fact was first known and written about in the 1800s.

Of course, when you refer to "God" in Mongolian, unless the context is clear
- which is easy, actually - a Mongol might first think you were referring to
Buddha, as that is who they think of as god - the average Buddhist is
unconcerned with the philosophical differences between a "buddha" and a
"god". An educated Mongolian Buddhist will tell you that Buddha is in fact *
not* a "burkhan" at all.

However, this is the same as if a Muslim thinks of Allah, when you use the
word 'god', and similar to the fact that if you try to talk to your average
American college student about God, he/she has no idea of the Biblical
concept of who God really is. This all comes with teaching, and there is no
way to find a term in any language that automatically describes the God of
the Bible. "God" in English only describes the true God, as we associate the
generic term with the knowledge we have from His Word. One Hindu who uses
the word 'god' in English, is not referring to the same god as his
neighboring Hindu, who prefers to believe in another one of the huge
pantheon of 'gods' available to him.

The trick is in translation, where a verse might say "our God is not like
unto their gods". The Hebrew behind this is the same word in both cases as
well. If you believe like I do, that the Bible is inspired of God, then you
have God Himself using one word (the same in Greek, by the way, to refer to
both. The comparison seems to be important to Him, and with any type of
formally equivalent translation, you need a generic term, not a descriptive
term. In fact, the other group there has not actually fixed the problem they
think they are addressing, because the new name they have given to God, has
just been accepted as another "burkhan" into the pantheon! The direct
opposition to the other "burkhans" created when you tell them that there is
only one true "Burkhan", that one the Bible talks about, goes the farthest
toward combating the syncretism prevalent there, and I wonder if the
principle doesn't hold true everywhere. Syncretism is a problem inherent in
the Mongolian culture: it does not stem from the terms used by the
Christians and the Bible translation most of them use. This is an important

The same follows for a lot of terminology in question here. Just because a
term is used by the Buddhists does not necessarily make it a Buddhist term.
Don't get me wrong, there are many exclusively Buddhist terms, and we refuse
to use them. However, I don't want to always translate "pray" as "talk with
God" - for a number of reasons, one is that it lessons the concept - and
there is a good Mongolian word that works for that.

Finally (I have gone too long already), we have found that when in personal
conversation with a Mongolian non-believer, if we use the phrase "Lord God"
in Mongolian, there is never any confusion. No such title is *ever* used for
Buddha, and the Mongols know immediately that we are not talking Buddhist

Thanks for your concern and question.

> > Von: "Peter von Kaehne" <refdoc at gmx.net>
> > So, the ability to download and use a font even just for AndBible without
> > starting to think about rooting would be brilliant.
> I would think this would also be of interest to people wanting to use
> original language texts.
> Peter

Diddos to that one. Does anyone know if better font support is in fact
coming soon for Android?

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