ArtScroll’s Interlinear Translations Gets Patented: Patent Number 6778950


artscrollNot far away from such venerable American institutions as the Capitol and the Smithsonian stands the U.S. Patent Office. Here we can find more than 5 million patents, fascinating records of humanity’s imagination and ingenuity. Among them are those that brought light (patent number 12631 – the incandescent light bulb) and knowledge (patent number 3120606 – ENIAC, the world’s first computer) to the world.And then there is ArtScroll’s unique Interlinear Translation system (patent number 6778950) which brought both light and knowledge to the world in a very different way.

The original ArtScroll translations introduced hundreds of thousands of English speakers to the beautiful and timeless words of Torah and tefillah. Yet one thing was lacking in all translations: they always appeared on the opposite facing page. It was difficult for someone who wanted to follow the translation along, word for word, with the original Hebrew.

The answer to the problem was clear: to place an English language translation immediately beneath the Hebrew words. But that raised another challenge: how to deal with the fact that Hebrew reads from right to left, while English reads in the opposite direction, from left to right? How could the English translation be readable, if you had to read it backwards?

That challenge brought about an innovation so revolutionary that it became the only patented translation system in the world of Jewish publishing. The ArtScroll Interlinear Translations, in the various Schottenstein editions, use an arrow system that guides the eye gently, directing it through the full text in the proper direction. Not sure what a word means in the Chumash or Siddur? Just glance down below and see the translation right there. Want to understand the meaning of an entire phrase or sentence? Your eye moves down to the English and then rapidly, almost unconsciously, follows the arrows to read a flowing, word for word translation, from right to left, from left to right, without interruption.

The Interlinear Translations have revolutionized the way English speakers learn and pray. With the publication of Sefer Devarim, the Schottenstein Interlinear Chumash is now complete, in five volumes. Many other classic works are available in the interlinear format: the Siddur, the Machzor, the Hagaddah, Megillas Esther, Sefer Tehilim, Zemiros, Pirkei Avos, and the Vidui service.

{Dovid Newscenter}


  1. why patent? shouldnt others be allowed to teach torah in a similar format as well without running into crazy legal problems?