IBT has recently published the Old Testament book of the prophet Jonah in the Abaza language. This is the first OT book ever published in Abaza. Previously, IBT had published an excerpt from the Gospel of Luke, ch. 2, in 2000.
The Abaza are one of the most ancient peoples of the Caucasus Mtn. region of southern Russia. Mentions of the Abasgoi/Abasci tribe that lived on the Black Sea coast are found in the writings of ancient Greek historians starting from about the 5th century B.C. The Abaza language is closely related to Abkhaz and the Adyg languages, and there are about 37,000 speakers of Abaza in Russia. The sound system of their language is particularly interesting to linguists because it has only two vowels and 63 consonants.
IBT’s translation of Jonah is illustrated with pictures produced by Russian artist Irina Pavlishina, which had previously been used in IBT editions of Jonah in several other languages. The Abaza translation was published as a bilingual edition together with the Russian (CARS) translation of Jonah inasmuch as many Abaza speakers are not used to reading in their mother tongue.
The PDF version of Jonah in Abaza is available for download from IBT’s website.
The Abaza translation team is continuing work on Ruth and Esther, which IBT plans to publish in 2020. A translation of the Lord’s Prayer has been drafted and work is in progress on the Gospel of Matthew.