news of Bible translation 2011
From 28 November to 3 December 2011 the Institute for Bible Translation held an international seminar on "The Translation of the New Testament Epistles" as part of a series of seminars on "Problems of Bible Translation" supported by the Russian State Research Foundation. The seminar was attended by 18 participants from 12 IBT Bible translation projects (Crimean Tatar, Dargin, Dungan, Ingush, Komi-Permyak, Lak, Lezgi, Moksha-Mordvin, Nenets, Tatar, Turkmen and Uzbek): translators, editors, co-ordinators and consultants 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.
The translation of the New Testament Epistles is a complex task, which underlines the urgency of the chosen topic in the 2011 seminar, its theoretical significance and practical novelty. Many aspects of translation techniques in the prophetic books can be applied in one form or another to other biblical and non-biblical texts which are translated into the languages of the peoples of the Russian Federation.
The seminar touched on topics related to the historical context of the New Testament Epistles. The basic principles of modern fundamental and applied science as applied to the material chosen for this seminar were revealed. Part of the lectures was devoted to the transfer of discourse features of the original Greek New Testament into modern translations of the texts. The seminar also discussed the specific problems of translation related to syntax and sentence structure.
The lectures were illustrated with examples and contained a number of valuable recommendations for translators. At first, a presentation on the theme was made, which was followed by discussion of the actual translation work into specific languages. This contributed to finding concrete solutions to a number of practical problems. First of all, here are the issues of consistency of terminology in different languages and translation of complex texts rich with rhetorical phrases into languages with different syntax systems.
The seminar embraced various topics and was extremely fruitful. Communication in informal contexts facilitated understanding of colleagues working on similar tasks in different parts of Russia and other countries. For many translators, 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.
03.11.11 I The Book of Genesis in the Avar language
Andrei Desnitsky has prepared the book "Introduction to Biblical exegesis" as part of his work as a consultant for IBT Bible translation projects.
This book differs from modern western publications on exegesis. It focuses on the Russian reader, and presents some of the major domestic achievements of world science in this area, given the Russian cultural and religious traditions, as well as outlining the current state of biblical studies and the humanities in Russia. In addition, this book is also an introduction to help orient readers interested in more specialized literature on biblical exegesis to find their own way among the many existing techniques and approaches.
This book is oriented towards Bible translators but it also will be of interest to a broader readership with a general interest in the Bible, hermeneutics etc.
On 7 October 2011 a round table dedicated to the release of the New Testament in the Nogai language, published by the Institute for Bible Translation, was held in Cherkessk. Those present included the Nogai linguists, participants in the Nogai Bible translation project: M.Bulgarova and S.Kukaeva, philologists-researchers of the Karachay-Cherkess Institute of Humanitarian Studies and L.Aybazova, an employee of the Karachay-Cherkess Institute for Advanced Educational Training. Also present were representatives of the Government of the Karachay-Cherkess Republic: E.Kratov, the Authorized Representative for relations with religious organizations, and N.Suyunova, the Minister for National Affairs and Mass Communications.
A well-known Nogai writer Isa Kapaev, taking part in the discussion, said: "There is a tradition that the prayers of the Bible were translated into Nogai in the 13th century on the recommendation of Khan Nogai, one of the rulers of the Golden Horde, whose name gave rise to the name of our people. The first attempt at translating the New Testament (in Arabic script) was made in the 19th century by the Scottish Mission in the Caucasus, but the fate of this publication is now unknown to us.” Isa Kapaev noted the high quality of the present translation and of the production of the book itself. He expressed his hope that in any future editions the glossary would be expanded, and that in the preface a special place should be given to a historical review of what was done in this area in Nogai and other related Turkic languages in pre-revolutionary times.
30.09.11 I Psalms in Crimean Tatar
06.09.11 I The official presentation of the Bible into the Tuvan language held in Kyzyl
The official presentation of the Bible in the Tuvan language was timed to coincide with the 90th anniversary of the People's Republic of Tuva and the visit to Tuva of Kirill, the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia.
On 31 August 2011 the consecration of the newly constructed Resurrection Cathedral of the Russian Orthodox Church was held in Kyzyl, the capital of Tuva. After the consecration service, Jonathan, the Archbishop of Abakan and Kyzyl thanked the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church for his visit to Tuva. He noted that Tuva prepared two great gifts for the visit of His Holiness: the cathedral and the first translation of the wholeBible in the Tuvan language, carried out by the Institute for Bible Translation.
His Holiness in his response said on this subject: "Iam particularly moved by the news of the translation of the Bible into the Tuvan language. Indeed, this event provides an opportunity for the Tuvans to read the Book of Life and that is of great spiritual significance. When we know each other’s religious guidelines and moral requirements, then it is easier to be engaged in dialogue - not only in negotiations between experts, but also in an everyday living dialogue, expressed in peaceful communication and good co-operation."
Sholban Kara-ool, the First Minister of Tuva, said about the importance of therelease of the Bible in the Tuvan language, referring to thePatriarch: "This year there was a very important and long awaited event in the field of inter-religious dialogue in our Republic. On the eve of your visit to Tuva a full translation of the Bible in the Tuvan language was launched. From now on Tuvan believers in Christ and all who read in Tuvan, have access to this great treasure of world culture and spirituality in their own language. The work on the translation continued for nearly two decades, and God made it possible for us to present it to you during your visit."
The presentation of the Bible to the Kyzyl community was held on the following day, 1 September, in the conference hall of the National Museum of the Tuvan Republic. Especially for this event Marianne Beerle-Moor, the Director of the Institute for Bible Translation, and Archpriest Alexander Troitsky, the head librarian of the Synodal Library of the Moscow Patriarchate flew from Moscow to Tuva. Among the guests were Alexander Popov, the Chief Federal Inspector of the Office of the Plenipotentiary Representative of the President of Russia in the Siberian Federal Region, Minister Yuriy Ananin, the First Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Tuva, Dr Kaadyr-ool Bicheldey, Director of the Tuvan Institute of Humanitarian Studies, Dr Olga Khomushku, Rector of the Tuvan State University, Archpriest Vyacheslav Dementiev, the Dean of the Tuva region, members of the translation team, scholars, writers and other representatives of the cultural community of Tuva – altogether about 60 people.
In his greeting letter to the participants in the meeting, Sholban Kara-ool, the First Minister of Tuva, wrote: "Today's presentation of a complete translation of the Bible into the Tuvan language is actually a part of the visit to our country of His Holiness Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia. This visit was for those living in Tuva an event of great spiritual power and importance. Tuvan people have always maintained and increased their ethnic diversity – almost 100 nations and nationalities live in harmony in the republic. This is our greatest wealth organically supplemented by tolerance, and the peaceful co-existence of Orthodoxy, Buddhism, Shamanism, other faiths and denominations. The formation of morality, and the education for the younger generation's cultural and spiritual tolerance – is the only certain way to solve many current problems. I am sure that a complete translation of the Bible into the Tuvan language will facilitate inter-religious dialogue and bring joy to the whole multinational population of our country."
The presentation was held in both the Tuvan and Russian languages, and those present heard excerpts from various books of the Old and New Testaments read by the members of the translation group. Speakers stressed the enormous cultural and historical significance of the book, and expressed confidence that the Bible will lead the Tuvan language to a new level of knowledge and discovery of world spiritual culture, and perhaps in the future will bring to Tuvan literature new perspectives on eternal themes.
26.08.11 I The presentation of the “Children’s Bible” in Evenki held in Tura
At the beginning of the presentation Fr Timothy dedicated the book. Then the Head of the “Evenki Archive” Elena Petrova told how this book had been written and recorded. After that the Evenki Museum worker Svetlana Chapogir reminded the guests of the main historical stages in the Christianization of the Tungus living in the North along the Yenisei River.
The translation and publication of the Children’s Bible were rated very highly by all the participants in the presentation. The guests noted that the Evenkis can be rightly proud of the fact that such a book is now published in their language. A teacher of the Evenki language N. Oegir suggested that the study of the “Children’s Bible”should be included in the school curriculum.
The audio recording of this book was played in the background during the event. And at the end the pupils of the summer ethnic nomad camp “Arunkan” sang a song in the Evenki language. All the guests received a gift of a book with the audio version of the text enclosed.
The Institute for Bible Translation has completed work on the first full translation of the Bible into the Tuvan language. The publication of this book is of particular importance in light of the celebration in 2011 of the 90-th anniversary of the Republic of Tuva (Russian Federation).
The publication of the Bible in the Tuvan language is the result of a 20-year work of the translation group including translators N. Kuular, E. Mizhit, and M. Kuzhuget and editor L Mizhit, theological advisers V. Voinov, T. Kandaurova and S. Sychev, consultants, Dr D. Clark and Dr A. Desnitsky, tester E. Samba and other scholars and writers. The text of the Bible has been tested with native speakers and has undergone a scientific review. The published translation will be released with the stamp of approval of the Institute of Linguistics of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
The edition of the complete translation of the Bible into Tuvan language followed such publications as the New Testament (2001), The Children’s Bible (2001), "Four books of ancient Israel," which includes the Book of Ruth, Esther, Lamentations and the Book of Jonah (2003), the Pentateuch, Psalms and Proverbs (2006).
The inauguration of the Tuvan Bible in the Tuvan churches will in take place in Kyzyl at the beginning of August, while the official secular presentation with the participation of the representatives of the Tuvan Government is going to be held presumably in early September.
A new translation of the Children’s Bible has been released, this time in the Evenki language. This book is a brief retelling of the main biblical subjects through which the Evenki people can discover the Bible in their mother tongue. Professionals in the field of Evenki dialectology and folklore have worked on this book for about 10 years: translator Dr Nadezhda Bulatova, senior fellow at the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) Institute of Linguistic Studies, (St. Petersburg) and literary editor Dr Anna Myreeva, senior fellow at the Siberian Department of the RAS Institute of Linguistic Studies, (Yakutsk). Previously, they produced the translation of the Gospel of Luke in the Evenki language (2002).
Translator Nadezhda Bulatova said the release of the Children’s Bible in Evenki is an outstanding event giventhe background of the linguistic situation around the Evenki language, which is included in the UNESCO list of endangered languages, "The prestige of the indigenous language has dropped. People cannot read in Evenki. At schools Evenki is studied only at primary level," says Nadezhda. In this regard, during the preparation of the book for the press it was decided to release it together with an audio recording on CD in order to facilitate the understanding of the text
Evenki school textbooks are based on the southern dialect spoken in the Evenki Municipal District (with its administrative centre in Tura). However, many more Evenkis, who speak an eastern dialect, live outside this district. So far only a few folklore texts have been recorded for them. In order to make the Children’s Bible available for the greatest possible number of people the translation team decided to do the translation in the eastern dialect. At the same time it was important for the participants in the project to make sure during the comprehension testing in Tura that the translation could be understood there too.
Geographically, the Evenkis (over 35 000 people) are scattered very widely - from the Yenisei river to Sakhalin in the Far East and from the Taimyr Peninsula above the Arctic Circle to China. Currently, books are on their way to the places where groups of Evenkis live. The distribution of this book will be carried out through libraries, research and educational institutions, central and regional associations of indigenous peoples, churches and municipal cultural institutions.
During the forthcoming linguistic expedition of the Russian State University of Humanities in the Taimyr region, the comprehensibility of the Children’s Bible will be tested in the course of field studies among the local Evenkis. In the autumn it is planned to have formal presentations of this book in Tura and Yakutsk, where it will already be possible to speak about the first results of the distribution of the book and the first reviews of it.
25.05.11 I The New Testament in the Nogai language
The translation of the New Testament into the Nogai language prepared by IBT has come from the press. In late May, the books are scheduled to be delivered to the regions inhabited by the Nogais. The print run of 1000 copies will be distributed among churches of different denominations, local libraries and schools.
Nogai derives from the name of Nogay, grandson to Genghis Khan, who was the real leader of the Golden Horde. The Nogai people were formed as a result of the merging of several Turkic and Mongolian tribes which were gradually assimilated by the Turks. According to Russian historical records, Nogais settled in the North Caucasian steppes at the end of the 15th century. Today the Nogais in Russia are a minority that does not have its own state system. They live in the Astrakhan region, the Nogai area of Dagestan, the Neftekumsk area of the Stavropol region, in Karachayevo-Cherkessia and in Chechnya.
The fact that the Nogai people are scattered over a wide area makes it more difficult for the language to develop. Today over 80% of the Nogais speak Russian fluently, although 90% of them consider Nogai to be their native language. The Nogais have acknowledged the impending danger of extinction for their language and have begun to demand obligatory teaching of their native language at school.
Mass Islamization of the Nogais began back in the 14th century in the time of the Golden Horde. Islam has had a great impact on the spiritual culture and traditions of the people. During the time of Soviet power the mosques were destroyed and most mullahs imprisoned. Those who survived had to stop their religious activities. Religious education was given in secret. In recent years all the peoples of the North Caucasus have experienced religious revival: mosques are being built, services are taking place, and schools have started where people are taught to read in Arabic.
“When we work on Bible translation into Nogai, we rediscover the depths of our language – we have found many forgotten lexical units that have disappeared from the vocabulary. It helps our language to survive!” says one of the Bible translators.
Translation of the Bible contributes to the development and enrichment of the language. The work on translating the New Testament into Nogai has helped to solve many problems, including those related to the regulation of religious terminology. For many decades, the terms related to religion and the religious activities of the people were not included in dictionaries and remained in the language as virtually passive vocabulary. For example, in the Nogai-Russian dictionary, published in 1963 and so far the only bilingual dictionary, there are not even such terms as Inzhil 'Gospel', Zabur 'Psalms', Tanri 'God', etc. Thanks to the work on the translation of the New Testament the vocabulary of religious terminology was revived. And in the new Nogai-Russian dictionary that is being prepared for publication in the Karachay-Cherkessia Institute of Humanitarian Studies religious terminology is being included.
Each new translation of the Bible is another step in the knowledge of and adherence to eternal human values and to the strengthening of mutual understanding between peoples of different religions. The New Testament in the Nogai language will integrate the Nogai people into world culture and will at the same time enhance the prestige of their language and culture.
20.04.11 I New edition of the Easter Prologue Polyglot "In the beginning was the Word…”
In the collection of articles "The Translation of the Bible as a factor in the development and preservation of the languages of Russia and the CIS" some fundamental difficulties of translating the Bible into the languages of the peoples of Russia and the CIS are considered. The central theme of this monograph is a practical problem facing modern society, the disappearance and extinction of languages.
The Institute for Bible Translation in cooperation with leading specialists from academic institutions of the Russian Academy of Sciences is involved not only in actual translation work, but also in developing a theoretical base for Bible translation, founded on careful research and taking into account the cultural and linguistic situations of the multi-ethnic Russian society. Problems associated with the translation of the Bible have more than once been discussed at scientific meetings and joint conferences with the Academy of Sciences in 1996, 2000 and 2008, and also at numerous workshops and seminars
Bible Translation is an area of the humanities which combines at least three disciplines, namely linguistics (especially translation theory), cultural studies and theology. Moreover some specific features of Bible translation are not easily accommodated within general translation theory”.
The various sections of the monograph cover a wide range of issues: common questions and problems, the way the features of Bible translation are manifested at different levels of language, sociolinguistic and historical aspects of Bible translation etc. The authors of the monograph demonstrate the contribution of Bible translation to the development of languages and show that each translated text is a unique event. The main idea of the book is that translated Bible texts can be successfully used in scientific research.
Most of the articles are devoted to translating the Bible into newly written languages (i.e. languages which do not yet have established literary standards, and sometimes do not even have alphabets or rules of spelling and punctuation). The book contains articles on various aspects of the multifaceted issue of the impact of Bible translation on language development, as well as the unique contribution of Bible translations to the preservation of the languages of the world and of the Russian Federation in particular.
This monograph from the Institute for Bible Translation has been released on the 15th anniversary of the establishment of the Institute in Moscow and in honor of the founder of IBT, Dr. Borislav Arapovich, a Foreign Member, and Doctor Honoris Causa of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
22.03.11 I The first translation of the Pentateuch in Kurdish (Kurmanji) published
The Pentateuch is the second volume in a series of translations of Old Testament books released by IBT in the Kurmanji dialect of the Kurdish language. This volume was published in two editions, one in Cyrillic script and one in Roman. This was done at the request of readers in the former Soviet republics due to the change to writing the Kurdish language in Roman script.
The previous volume containing Ruth, Esther and Jonah was also published in both scripts (as parallel texts in one book) in order to facilitate the transition to the Roman alphabet, and in order to master the native language. Literacy in their native language is particularly difficult for Kurds in Armenia and Russia where Kurmanji-Kurdish in not taught.
Earlier, in 2000, IBT published the translation of the New Testament into Kurdish (Kurmanji). Since that time many comments on the translation have been collected from the readers. A revised edition of the New Testament has now been prepared for publication. As well as the books of the Old Testament, the New Testament reprint will also be released in two editions, one in Cyrillic script and one in Roman.
Materials on the theme
07.03.11 I Presentation of the Children’s Bible in the Gagauzi language in Comrat State University
On 3 March 2011 at the initiative of the Gagauzi Administration the Children’s Bible in the Gagauzi language was presented. The Hall of Comrat State University attracted more than 250 guests - students, teachers, representatives of the Gagauzi Administration, the Gagauzi and Comrat Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church, intellectuals and the media. The presentation was in both Russian and Gagauzi.
The following people participated in the 4 years of preparatory work on the Children’s Bible: (from Moldova) Peter Chebotar, the translator, a famous Gagauzi writer and poet; the editors of the translation, namely Dr. Ivana Bankova, Rector of Comrat State University, and Dr. Ludmila Pokrovkskaya, a renowned turkologist, the creator of the modern Gagauzi alphabet; (from Russia) Natalia Manzienko, the coordinator of the IBT Gagauzi translation project, and (from the USA) Vitaly Voinov, the exegetical adviser, a talented turkologist and biblical scholar.
The presentation was opened by Nikolay Stoyanov, Vice-Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Gagauzi Administration, which provided financial support for part of the costs of the circulation of this book. In his speech, he stressed that "spiritual education must begin from the birth of the child, and wished that this publication would be followed by other books on the Bible for the Gagauzi children’s audience."
The Chairman of the IBT Board Archpriest Alexander Troitski reviewed Bible translation in Russian, and noted the overall trend, manifested in different nations and different languages: paraphrases, narrations giving an idea of the Bible appear first, then separate books, and finally the complete Bible is released. Fr Alexander expressed his hope that with time the complete Bible in the Gagauzi language will appear, and added that IBT is open to help with this difficult and complicated task.
The translator of the Children’s Bible
Peter Chebotar spoke about a new experience for him of taking
part in a collective translation of scholarly work carried
out by IBT in accordance with modern methods of Bible translation,
which takes the translated text though series of steps,
checks, testings and reviews.
15.02.11 I The Children’s Bible was published in Gagauzi
The Children’s Bible, translated into the Gagauzi language by IBT Russia/CIS was printed In Kishinev, the capital of Moldova. This book has received the blessing of the Orthodox Bishop Anatoliy of Kishinev and Comrat. According to reviews of the Gagauzi clergy, "Gagauzi children and adults, who are often detached from their own culture, traditions and beliefs, will definitely profit from this book in their native language. It will be a good tool not only in missionary work, but also in the spiritual and cultural education of the younger generation."
The Gagauzi are a small Christian Turkic people (198,000) living mainly in southwest Moldova, around three cities – Comrat, Chadyr-Lunga and Vulcanesti. There are alsoGagauzi populations in southern Ukraine, Bulgaria, Romania and the Russian Federation.
Neither native nor foreign specialists have been able to determine whether theGagauzi are Bulgars whoadopted the Turkish language or Turks who converted from Islam to Orthodox Christianity. The first New Testament in Gagauzi, published by IBT in 2006 was eagerly received by the Gagauzi people. The Children’s Bible will introduce all the books of the Bible to the Gagauzi people. In connection with the transition in Moldova from the Cyrillic to the Roman script, the Children’s Bible was released in both scripts for readers belonging to different generations, Cyrillic (3000 copies, for older people) and Roman (1200 copies, for younger people). The books will be very useful in the schools, libraries and churches of Gagauzia.
15.01.11 I The first translation of the Gospel of Luke in Dargin
The Dargins are the second largest ethnic group in Dagestan (510,000 speakers). The Dargin language belongs to the Nakh-Dagestani branch of the North Caucasian language family.
Christianity came to Dagestan via Caucasian Albania in the 4th-5th centuries A.D. Three centuries later the Arabs brought Islam to the Dargin people, and Islam became firmly established as their official religion by the 14th century. Despite the restrictions placed on religious freedom during Soviet times, the Dargins managed to maintain their Islamic tradition.
There is a small, but growing number of Dargin Christians, who are waiting for their first New Testament.
Dargin is a literary language. The first information about Dargin appeared in the second half of the 18th century. The traditional Arabic script was replaced first by the Roman script in 1928, then in 1938 by the Cyrillic script. Currently Dargin is taught in forms 1-4 in secondary schools, and can be studied as a subject in the Dagestan State University. Several newspapers and magazines, as well as school text-books, training manuals, dictionaries, collections of folklore and poetry, stories and novels have been published in Dargin. The national Dargin Theatre stages plays in the Dargin language.