The Worldwide Electronic Bible & Book Service (WEBBS)
WEBBS is the principal service that we provide. It aims to produce digital text from a printed document in support of the ongoing task to translate and publish a version of the Bible in every spoken language on Earth. The service started just over twenty years ago and has, slowly but surely, built up an enviable reputation for highly accurate and professional work.
It involves converting printed text to digital format by "keyboarding" it, that is, typing it into a computer file. Most of the keyboarding work that we do involves typing out Scripture, although sometimes we do get asked to type other material such as Bible commentaries or devotional books. Generally, the documents that we work on are out of print and need typing onto a computer so that they can be prepared for re-printing. What's more, most of the material is not in English and is often needed in order for a fresh translation to be made. These days, translators can avail themselves of many useful, time-saving computer applications that help to speed up the process of translation enormously. But, of course, none of these tools can be used until the text is available in digital format.
Many companies and organisations throughout the world employ people to carry out the same task, and most of them will use a computer process known as "Optical Character Recognition" (OCR). Whilst this software can provide acceptable results for many purposes, it is rarely completely accurate and often struggles to achieve even 80% accuracy, depending on the condition of the printed document and the language in which it was originally produced.
Our goal is to produce 100% accuracy in every project that we undertake. To achieve this, we rely on volunteers typing each character individually, using a specially produced software application to produce diacritics (accented characters) in Unicode format. Each piece of work is keyboarded separately by two teams at once. The results are digitally merged then printed and checked visually with the printed original by a team of sight-checkers. The work is then sent on to an editor who will "concatenate" (splice together) all the different files to produce a complete, electronic document. This editor will also make a final check for accuracy. Using this method, we are able to produce consistently accurate reproductions of original texts, often from ancient and even damaged, printed pages.
For a video presentation on keyboarding, please follow the link below on our "Easy-Key" website. The file should load directly into most modern browsers, provided that you have chosen to accept such files.