Jonah in the Yakut (Sakha) language
May 17, 2019

IBT has published the Old Testament book of the prophet Jonah in the Yakut (Sakha) language of the Sakha Republic (Yakutia). The text of the story is presented in three languages – Yakut, Russian, and English – in order to meet the needs of younger generations of Sakha speakers. IBT hopes that this trilingual edition will help Sakha readers to understand the biblical text better and will also aid them in language study.

This hard bound edition was illustrated by Maria Adamova, a Yakut artist for whom this was the first experience illustrating a biblical book. For this project, she created fourteen "domesticated" illustrations that bridge the gap between the ancient Hebrew source text and the contemporary Sakha reader. The Sakha lifestyle comes alive before the reader's eyes: the prophet Jonah looks like a Sakha and the fish is unmistakably a carp, which is both the most widely known fish in Sakha lakes and at the same time a staple for common people. IBT’s hope is that when readers see life in Old Testament times through Sakha eyes, they will be able to connect it better to their own life situation.

In the preface to the book, Archbishop Roman of Yakutia encourages further work on publishing portions from the Holy Scripture in Yakut. Among other things he says, "The story of the prophet Jonah, short but with a deep meaning, awakens in the reader's heart the hope of experiencing God's mercy. As the story demonstrates, if a human being turns to God in repentance, the Lord extends to him His fatherly mercy and can even reverse His intention to deal out punishment…"

According to the exegetical checker and field tester Sargylana Leontyeva, "When the book of Jonah was field tested, some respondents were surprised and very touched by God's concluding remark in the end of the last chapter. It became to them a revelation of God's compassion and gave reason to hope for God's forgiveness and mercy."

Among those who worked on the translation were Yakut language experts and experienced translation professionals, including translator Raya Sibiryakova, exegetical editor Sargylana Leontyeva, philological editor Zoya Basharina, and Bible translation consultant Alexey Somov. IBT’s Yakut translation team is preparing to publish several more works in the near future – a glossary of biblical terms and the books of Ruth, Esther, and Song of Songs. Work is also in progress on translating the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, and Ecclesiastes.

The present publication, as well as the previous ones, such as Psalms (2009), the New Testament (3rd ed., 2017) and Proverbs (2018) are available for download on IBT's website, as well as via IBT's Android app on Google Play.