Philippine Bible Society

The MARBLE Project

Translating the Bible is a continuous effort of the translating team by studying innovative tools empathetic to the necessity of translators and the source texts they are using. On September  19, 2023, the Philippine Bible Society conducted a whole-day orientation workshop titled MARBLE Project, which stands for “Modular Aggregation of Resources on the Bible.” The primary purpose of this workshop was to localize enhanced resources to the laity. It was attended virtually via Zoom Meeting and in-person at the PBS Ministry Center from 8:30 AM until 4:30 PM. Thus, various translators who were native Tagalog or Cebuano speakers with backgrounds in biblical Hebrew/Greek languages attended the workshop.

The need for this project arose when translators needed help working indirectly with source texts mainly tied to Hebrew-Aramaic and Greek languages. MARBLE is a valuable Bible translation resource because it works as an extra human limb when translating those source texts into the two most spoken languages in the Philippines: Tagalog and Cebuano. It is also an interactive and enjoyable design of its digital presentation of the Bible with photos (illustrations), video clips, maps interspersing the biblical text, and a short explanation of key concepts, characters, and plants/animals/artifacts (with illustrations). Nevertheless, this project believes that MARBLE benefits not only Filipino Bible translators but also pastors, seminarians, aspiring biblical scholars, ministry workers, Sunday school teachers, and those who desire to profoundly study God’s word—anyone who reads the Bible seriously!

For that reason, the translators were briefed on the biblical content and technical terminologies associated with biblical history, culture, and, at times, theology. The Paratext’s basic operational knowledge, where MARBLE was available, was also introduced to the translating team. The program was divided into two sessions: the first focused on three different lectures regarding translation, and the second centered on translation exercises. Dr. Rhoneil Arevalo, a translation consultant of the society, presented the first lecture. He talked about “Psalm 113: Lament or Praise?” On the other hand, the second lecture was on the “Enhanced Resources and FSL Bible Translation” led by another translation consultant, Ptr. Alvin Bailon.

Finally, the third and last lecture was given by Rev. Dr. Edgar B. Ebojo, a global translation adviser. He discussed the textual, paratextual, and scribal issues on base manuscripts and how they are considered in Scripture translation into modern languages. These tutorials taught them how MARBLE localization will transcribe beyond one’s understanding of the Bible’s context.

Finally, what the translating team had learned in the morning session was expressed in the afternoon session. The translators were given hands-on experience on how they could operate MARBLE. There were three translation exercises while taking breaks in between.

Thanks to the initiative of the Philippine Bible Society, the orientation and workshop of the MARBLE Project has interpreted an efficient tool where translators of the Bible from Hebrew-Aramaic and Greek source texts have seen the dawn of an innovative device where materials are digitally available for all readers of the Bible. This project will help future translators to have enhanced resources, mainly in Cebuano and Tagalog, while still being faithful to the Bible’s formal translations (Ang Biblia, 1973 & 2001). Thus, MARBLE localization is made more accessible than before.