10 Spell checking


previous lesson: Understanding the Vernacular Text 

this lesson in video format:  Lesson 10 videos

This lesson explains how to use Paratext to correct spelling in the vernacular text.

Where are we?

You want to be sure that the translation teams are able to be consistent in their spelling of words in the translation. But you are told it isn't possible because of the complicated morphology. If they turn on the spell checker without proper configuration, it is quite discouraging to see all of the words underlined in red.

Why is this skill important?

You want the team to know how to correct spelling mistakes so that the text will communicate clearly.

What are we going to do ?

We are going to learn how to configure the spell checking so that it will be pretty good at indicating spelling mistakes by underlining them in red, as well as proposing corrections.


Configure the Wordlist

Before you can check spelling, it is important to have a number of words that are marked as correctly spelled. There are three steps to follow:

  • Approve the spelling of common words.
  • Check words that Paratext guesses to be incorrect.
  • Set up and run a check for common spelling mistakes that users are likely to make.

Approve the Spelling of Common Words

  • With the PLKJV project active, click on the Tools menu
  • Click on Wordlist

The Wordlist appears in a separate window.


  • Click on Tools on the menu of the new window
  • Click Approve Spelling of Common Words


A dialog box appears.

  • Type the number that represents the minimum number of times a word must appear before you are certain it is not a mistake. This has a lot do do with the health of the text. If the spelling is pretty good, it is unlikely that the same mistake was committed 5 times, so put 5. If there are numerous errors in the text, you should consider using a higher number, such as 20.

The default parameter is 100, but that is extremely conservative and won't result in much benefit for the spell-checking engine.

  • Click OK

A dialog box appears that indicates the number of words that will be marked as correct.


  • Click OK

Now the spelling status has been changed to “correct” for each of these words.

Check words that Paratext thinks are incorrect

In the Wordlist window,

  • Click Tools
  • Choose Spell Check… and wait.

A progress bar is displayed.


Then the list changes and shows a short list of several words.


If the spelling status of the word is set to incorrect it is shown as below. You don’t have to do anything with this word.


If the spelling status of the word is unknown but there is another word which is close, it is shown as below. If the underlined word is correct, you can click on the underlined word to change it.


If the spelling status is unknown it is shown as below (i.e. with a question mark).


You can set the status of the word as follows:

  • If the spelling is correct, click on the grey tick. It will change to green.
  • If the spelling is incorrect, click on the grey cross.

The Correct Spelling dialog box is displayed

  • Correct the spelling by typing in the box shown by the arrow.


  • Choose the correct word in the list and click on OK.
As more and more words are marked as either correct or incorrect Paratext is better able to determine the words which are suspect.

Check similar words

(for example the common typing errors)

In the word list

  1. Click on the Tools menu
  2. Choose Find similar words… 
    The Find similar words… dialog box appears. 
  3. Fill in the box as necessary (see below).
    1. Letters that sound alike: Type the pairs of letters which sound alike in the box as shown.
    2. Letters to ignore: Type the letters which might have been omitted.
    3. As necessary, check or uncheck “ignore all diacritics when comparing words”. e.g. “Jésus” and “Jesus”.
  4. Click OK.

Turn on Spell Checking

Make sure that you have completed the previous setup tasks before activating the spell checking. Otherwise the majority of the words will be underlined in red.

In the main Paratext window,

  • On the Checking menu
  • Choose Display Spelling and wait…

Contributors to this page: ron_lockwood , dhigby and sewhite .
Page last modified on Tuesday March 18, 2014 15:34:00 GMT-0000 by ron_lockwood.


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