Occasionally, when I assemble a piece of furniture — say for instance a “Jerker” desk from Ikea, like the one that I sit at — I am left with a few odds and ends lying on the floor. Then I scratch my head and wonder, “Do I really need that lock washer?” The real question, of course, is: Do I really want to take the whole thing apart again to figure out where it goes?
Occasionally, when you are reading along in a reverse interlinear, you will encounter some of the nuts and bolts that are left over in the process of assembling the alignment. Here and there will be a round dot (bullet point) in either the original language line or the translation line of a reverse interlinear, indicating that no reasonable equivalent for that word could be found in the other text.
For the most part, our editorial philosophy for making these reverse interlinear alignments has been optimistic. That is, we assume that if the translation committee thinks they’ve translated the original language words of a particular verse, then we assume that they are. The goal, then, is to account for the translation, not to demonstrate elementary principles of Greek/Hebrew/Aramaic grammar. As a result, we give the benefit of the doubt in making links between the words of the original text and the translation. Our editors try — sometimes quite creatively — to account for all of the words in the translation. All of which tends, we hope, to minimize the presence of bullets in the text.
But they do happen, for various reasons.
Does this mean the translation is “bad” where you see bullets? Not necessarily.