News Archive 2010
December 31, 2010



news of Bible translation 2010

16.11.10 I Presentation of the New Testament in the Buryat language

On Nov. 12, 2010 in Ulan-Ude, the capital of the Buryat Republic of the Russian Federation, the Institute for Bible Translation celebrated the official release of a new translation of the New Testament in Buryat. More than 50 guests gathered in the conference hall of the Buryat National Library. The Buryat community welcomed the participants in the translation project – the translators (the renowned professor Dr Sergey.Budaev and the popular poetess Dr Darima Raytsanova), the main organizer and master of ceremonies of the meeting, (the philological editor of the translation, associate professor of the Buryat State University, Dr Rinchin.Dylykova), the Director of IBT (Dr Marianne Beerle-Moor), and the administrative coordinator of the project (Elena Mosolova).

In her welcoming speech Dr Beerle-Moor threw light upon the situation with Bible translation in the world in general and in Buryatia in particular, and expressed her hope that this book will be a blessing for Christians as well as for people of other religions, for linguists and for ordinary readers.

Dr Dylykova noted that three religions have traditionally co-existed in Buryatia: shamanism, Buddhism and Christianity. The appearance of such books as the translation of the New Testament, she said, can create a common space in which people can co-exist peacefully and learn more about themselves and others.

The translator Dr Raytsanova mentioned that the work on the translation had taken 20 years. She enlarged on the difficulties of translation arising from the fact that "the linguistic modes of expression in New Testament Greek and the cultural realities of first-century life in Palestine are very different from those of the current Buryat language and the cultural realities of modern life."

The representative of the Ulan-Ude Diocese Revd Roman Khlybov thanked the IBT translation group for their work and conveyed greetings from Bishop Savvatius of Ulan-Ude and Buryatia, who had blessed this publication, and recommended it for the Buryat-speaking believers of the Orthodox Church “as a text that will help them understand the New Testament".

Dr Sergey Lepekhov, Professor and Deputy Director of Research of the Institute of Mongolian, Buddhist and Tibetan Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences noted that "translation is a significant aspect of cultural studies. The interaction of different cultures in the framework of this translation may produce interesting results for the language, including the emergence of new linguistic features." In conclusion, he called the appearance of the translation of the New Testament in Buryat a historical event and expressed his respect to the translators for their great efforts.

In conclusion, the actress of the Buryat State Drama Theatre Martha Zoriktuyeva read aloud the text of the Sermon on the Mount from the Gospel of Matthew (5:1-16) and 1 Corinthians chapter 13 in the Buryat language. She drew the attention of the audience to the easiness of reading and comprehension of the text of the new translation.

08.11.10 I "ШЭНЭ ХЭЛСЭЭН" – translation of the New Testament into the Buryat language

IBT has published a new translation of the New Testament into the Buryat language (445,000 speakers living in south-central Siberia, Russia, historically shamanists, Buddhists or Orthodox). Some books of the Bible were translated in the 19th century into Mongolian, which was the literary language of the Buryats. However, these translations made over two hundred years ago with the use of Old Mongolian vertical script cannot be used today, since there is a significant difference between Modern Buryat and Old Mongolian languages and scripts.

IBT started its work on translating the New Testament into modern literary Buryat 20 years ago. In the course of preparation of the New Testament the following intermediate trial editions have been published: The Gospel of Mark (1996) and the Gospel of John (1998, 2003), as well as books for young readers: “Jesus - Friend of Children” (1999) and the Children’s Bible (2004).

This edition is the collective work of a large international translation team: translators Dr. S. Budaev and Dr. D. Raytsanova, philological editor Dr. R. Dylykova; tester Dr. V. Raytsanova; theological advisers K. Bogolyubov, I. Marenich, S.A. Sychov, S.N. Sychov, B. Long (USA), Dr. M. de Lang (Netherlands), and consultant Dr. P. Pike (UK).
The publication bears the imprint of approval of the Institute of Linguistics of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the blessing of Savvatius, the Orthodox Bishop of Ulan-Ude and Buryatia.

The New Testament in Buryat will be presented to the public on Nov. 12, 2010 in Ulan-Ude, at the National Library of the Republic of Buryatia.

The text of the translation of the Buryat New Testament in PDF format

11.10.10 I The book "Делан Йозанаш тIера дийцарш" (Tales from the God of Scripture) in the Chechen language, with audio recordings on CD

Many people in the Caucasus know the illustrated booklet of Bible stories, published by the Institute for Bible Translation, Russia/CIS. These books have been published in different forms in the Ossetic, Balkar, Tabasaran and Lezgi languages. Now the Chechen language is being added to this list.

This edition combines 31 stories from the Old Testament and 23 from the New Testament. From the OT, the stories describe the creation of the world and the first people, Noah's Ark and the Great Flood, the Ten Commandments, the plagues in Egypt, the Old Testament prophets and their prophecies about the coming of the Messiah - the Saviour. From the NT, they describe the birth of Jesus Christ and his earthly life, the Beatitudes and the New Testament parables, the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, and his burial and resurrection.

The text of the stories are received with interest both by children and by adults, as it is understandable and is as close as possible to the text of Scripture, with a large number of direct quotations from the books of the Old and New Testaments. These anthologies of Bible stories in different languages have been for many readers, not only a favorite book, but the first step in exploring the multifaceted world of biblical imagery found in both Christian and Muslim traditions.

We hope that on the threshold of the publication of the entire Bible in the Chechen language, this book, along with the New Testament, which was published in 2007, will take its rightful place in Chechen literature.

The book "Делан Йозанаш тIера дийцарш" was published together with a companion audio CD recording of the story of Joseph (Юсупах лаьцна долу дийцар) and the Book of Daniel (Даниал – пайхамаран тептар).

08.10.10 I Workshop on the translation of the Old Testament prophetic texts

From 1 to 8 October 2010 in Zelenograd outside Moscow IBT held an international workshop on the translation of the Old Testament prophetic texts as part of a series of seminars on "The Problems of Bible Translation", supported by the Russian State Research Foundation. The workshop was attended by translators, editors, coordinators and consultants from different Bible translation projects of IBT and its partner organizations, Russian as well as foreign specialists in various fields of Bible translation, and other staff members of the IBT Moscow office.

Various UBS, SIL and IBT consultants gave lectures, namely Dr. Murray Salisbury, Dr. Marijke de Lang, Dr. David Gray, Dr. Phil Pike and Dr. Andrei Desnitsky.

The lectures dealt with the distinctive features of the prophetic books in general and with the specific problems faced by the translators. An ancient text that was created in a society very different from ours may be organized on quite different principles. Some words and phrases are difficult to understand, not to mention the difficulty of adequately conveying their meaning in the language of the translation. There are also grammatical problems, since in Hebrew poetry the same verb form may denote past, present or future time.

Of course, one can always follow an option proposed in the commentaries, but it is very important that this should not be a blind choice and that the translation team should be aware of all the features of the translated text, and should make their decisions after considering all reasonable theories and scholarly suggestions. Special practical training was devoted to the detailed analysis of the text, the problems contained within it and their possible solutions. After hour-long independent work, there was careful assessment and evaluation of the various renderings proposed.

Lively discussion took place after each presentation, and the participants continued to think about these topics and discuss them, even during lunch or coffee-breaks. Such informal communication promotes closer ties and understanding between colleagues working on similar tasks in different parts of Russia and other countries.

For many translators from different cities of the CIS, such meetings are essential and constitute an invaluable forum for communicating with colleagues and for a joint search for well-founded solutions to their common problems.

25.05.10 I The award to the founder of IBT Dr. Arapovic, of an honorary diploma as a Foreign Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences

“May God Bless Russia” – those were the concluding words of Dr. Arapovic’s response speech at the ceremony of awarding him an honorary Foreign Member’s diploma of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Born in 1935 in Bosnia Hercegovina, and later an immigrant to Sweden, Borislav Arapovic became the initiator of the foundation in Stockholm in 1973 of the Institute for Bible Translation (IBT), with the aim of translating and publishing Bible texts in the mother tongues of the indigenous non-Slavic peoples of the Soviet Union. He was the IBT Director for 24 years (until 1997). On his initiative at the beginning of the 1990s a branch of the Institute was opened in Moscow and a cooperation agreement was signed between IBT and the Russian Academy of Sciences. In 1997 with the blessing of the late Patriarch Alexiy II the Russian organization Institute of Bible Translation was able to move into offices on the premises of the former St. Andrew’s monastery, where it has remained until the present time. Over the years since then IBT staff have implemented a wide range of projects, translating different parts of the Bible into more than 80 non-Slavic languages of Russia and other countries of the CIS.

On behalf of numerous Russian colleagues and friends Dr. Arapovic was welcomed and congratulated by academician E. Chelyshev. The solemn ceremony of the award took place in the presence of many guests, including a representative of the Croatian Embassy Mr. Igor Prelovsek. During the days of his visit to Moscow Dr. Arapovic also visited the office of the Institute for Bible Translation where he had friendly meetings with colleagues.

13.05.10 I Roundtable discussion of the first New Testament in Khakas

On 13 May a roundtable discussion about the recently published New Testament in Khakas took place at the National Library in Abakan, the capital of Khakasia in southern Siberia. Members of the translation group, members of the Khakas writers' union and representatives of cultural, religious and educational life in Abakan were among the participants, as well as journalists from TV, radio and newspapers.

The event was conducted by translator Ilya Topoev. Several members of the translation group, among them Galina Litvinenko and Tatyana Borgoyakova, told about their work on the translation and several participants expressed their gratitude that the New Testament now also exists in the Khakas language. One participant said: “This book will give new life to the Khakas language”, and another continued: “This is a great achievement for our culture and for the spiritual life of our people. I would like to ask the administration of our republic to work for the propagation of this book. It is time for our people to rise above their shamanistic world view and turn to the supreme God.”

12.05.10 I The Psalms with parallel texts in Georgian

In the liturgy of the Georgian church the translation of the Psalms made in the 11th century is still used. Since this old text is difficult for people today to understand, IBT has made an adaptation of the Psalms for home reading. This project has been done with the blessing of the Georgian Patriarch Ilya II and in cooperation with the Georgian Orthodox church. The book, which came off press at the beginning of May, contains three parallel texts in Georgian: the Psalms of the 11th century in two different scripts and the adaptation of the Psalms into modern Georgian. The work on the adaptation began in the autumn of 2004. Many Georgian specialists have taken part in the project.

On 11 May a presentation of the Psalms in parallel texts took place at the Patriarchate of the Georgian Orthodox church in Tbilisi, in the presence of the Georgian Patriarch Ilya II. Members of the translation group, scholars from the University and Academy of Sciences and students from the spiritual seminaries and academies of Tbilisi were also among the participants, as well as representatives from the cultural life and mass-media. The event was conducted by Ketevani Gadilia, administrative coordinator of the project. The participants welcomed the new edition and mentioned that the new publication will give the readers new knowledge and help them to understand the Psalms better. The text will also be used in seminaries and for textual comparison.

07.04.10 I The first New Testament in Tabasaran published

At the end of March the first New Testament in the Tabasaran language came from the printer. This is the third NT that IBT has so far published in a language of Dagestan. New Testaments in Avar and Kumyk were published earlier.
The Tabasarans (132,000) live in south-western Dagestan. They are considered to be one of the aboriginal peoples of the Caucasus. References to them date back to the early Christian era. The Tabasarans adopted the Muslim faith in the 8th – 9th centuries following Arab conquests. Previously there were Christian elements in their culture. Stories from the Old Testament and even about Jesus remain in folksongs and proverbs. Pictures of the cross can be found in carpets and carvings in wood or stone. Tabasaran belongs to the Ibero-Caucasian group of languages.
The publication of the New Testament is the result of almost twenty years of work. Several prominent Tabasaran writers and specialists have taken part in the translation process during this time.
Earlier the Gospel of Mark (1997), the Gospel of Luke (2000) and the Four Gospels and Acts (2004) were published in Tabasaran, as well as “Stories of Jesus” at the end of 2009. The translation group is planning to continue their translation work on the Old Testament books.
With the publication of the New Testament in their language the Tabasarans have received a very important book which will open up a new world to them. Besides its spiritual values the text will help develop the Tabasaran language and enrich its lexical resources with new terms, concepts and idiomatic expressions. Our hope is that this book will be a blessing to the Tabasaran people.

15.03.10 I The Gospel of Mark in Nenets: book and audio-recording

In February Mark's Gospel in Nenets came from the printer and a few weeks later the audio-recorded CDs of the same text were delivered. The books and CDs have been shipped to northern Siberia and we hope that they will reach the Nenets area while the rivers are still frozen so that they can be distributed to far away villages.
The Gospel of Mark has been translated by Nenets people who live their traditional life in their own homeland. A growing group of Nenets believers is eagerly waiting for this Gospel, as they have themselves been engaged in the translation process by helping to test the translation and by using the texts in church services. Many have been praying and collecting money for the project. The text has been audio-recorded, because many Nenets are not so used to reading their language.
The exegetical advisor from South Korea says: “As the author of the Gospel of Mark did his best to help the Gentiles to understand the Good News, so we did our best to translate the Good News for the Nenets clearly and precisely into their daily spoken language.”
“It is a great joy for us to have the audio version of Mark together with the book. Listening while looking at the text will certainly help the Nenets to read it. The living Word of God will bring hope to the Nenets.”

02.02.10 I The first New Testament published in the Khakas language

At the beginning of February the first copies of the Khakas New Testament came from the printing house. So far the New Testament has been translated into almost 1200 languages of the world. Now the Khakas language is also among them.

The first steps towards the New Testament were the trial publications of Mark's Gospel (1995), Luke and Acts (1999), and a book containing John's Gospel, the letters of John, and Revelation (2004). An important stage in preparing the Khakas readers for the New Testament was the publishing of the Four Gospels in 2007 and the illustrated Children's Bible in 2008.

The Khakas New Testament is mainly intended for home reading. In the appendix there are maps of Palestine and the Middle East in New Testament times, photographs of biblical sites and a glossary with explanation of the most important words and expressions which are found in the New Testament.

At the presentation of the Children's Bible in the National Library of Abakan in October 2008 the forthcoming publication of the Khakas New Testament was announced and the reactions were very positive: ”This holy book will serve as the basis for our spiritual education, it will enlarge the range of function of the Khakas language. At the same time we will be able to use the translation for scientific and educational purposes, it will give the national language a higher prestige, and it will deepen and multiply the cultural wealth of the Khakas people”, said some of the participants.

18.01.10 I The book of Psalms in the Yakut language

A translation of the book of Psalms into Yakut was published by IBT in January 2010. The Psalms are the most loved and the most widely read book of the Old Testament. The Psalms give comfort in the sorrows and problems of life and through them we can express our suffering, hope, love, faith and joy in life with God.

The Psalms which were translated into Yakut from Greek in the 19th century through the efforts of zealous Russian Orthodox missionaries meant a great deal to the Yakut people. Unfortunately it is difficult for modern Yakut readers to understand this book, which was translated more than 100 years ago. The new translation, based on the Masoretic text, differs somewhat from the translation based on the Greek Septuagint. Some of these differences are explained in footnotes below the text on each page.

The team which translated the Psalms into their native language consisted of the well-known Yakut author D.K. Sivtsev and IBT's translator Sargylana Leontyeva. The philological editor was the Yakut poet S. Rufov and the translation consultant and exegetical advisor was Dr David Clark.

Earlier published translations into Yakut by IBT Russia/CIS are the New Testament (2004, 2008) and Hexapsalm (2007), a book with Six Psalms, translated from the Greek Septuagint for liturgical use.