Language: Yakut, Turkic language family
Region: Yakutia, Northern Siberia
Religion: Orthodox Christianity, Animism
Not IBT Bible translations: Four Gospels (1858/1898, reprint IBT 1975), Acts, Epistles and Genesis (1858), Psalms (1887), Genesis (2013, BSR)
IBT Bible translations: Children’s Bible (1995, revised 2nd ed. 2013, 2016), New Testament (2004, reprint 2008), Hexapsalmos (liturgical Six Psalms, 2007), Psalms (2009), Children’s Bible, NT part (2014), Proverbs (2016), Gospel of John (2017), NT (revised, 2018), Jonah (illustrated diglot, 2019)|
Audio recordings: NT, Psalms, Hexapsalmos (The Six Psalms)
Current work in progress: Exodus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, biblical-theological wordbook; audio-recording of Jonah
Long term plans: OT and Deuterocanonical books, revision of NT
The Yakuts, who prefer to call themselves ”Sakha”, live in Yakutia (or the Yakut Republic, in the Russian Federation), situated in northern Siberia and known for the coldest climate of any inhabited location on the earth. The villages of Oimyakon and Verkhoyank have registered -72° C (or -97° F). Yakutia is the largest of Siberia’s republics – twice the size of Alaska. The capital city is Yakutsk. The Yakuts are related to other Turkic peoples of Siberia and Central Asia. Many Yakuts are Orthodox Christians (though animism is still strong there). Christianity was brought to Yakutia first in the 18th century by merchants and monks – the first Orthodox diocese was formed almost 150 years ago. Christianity also spread there because in the 19th century it was a place of exile for political prisoners and deportees from Central Russia.
Bible translation work in close co-operation with the Russian Orthodox Church. During the 19th century the Four Gospels were translated and published in Yakut by the Orthodox Church. When Archbishop Innokenty conducted the Divine Liturgy for the Yakut people in their mother tongue for the first time in history, those present were so profoundly touched by the opportunity of addressing God without a translator that they decided to designatet that day as a Yakut national holiday.
Major IBT publications: The Yakut language developed and changed in the course of the 19th and 20th centuries, and IBT began its work on the new Bible translation in 1992. Our first edition was the well-loved Children’s Bible, first published in 1995. This book was revised and printed in 2013. The NT part of the Children’s Bible was reprinted on request from the Orthodox diocese already in 2014. The New Testament in Yakut was published in 2004 and was very well received in Yakutia. Its text is read at Orthodox church services, as is the translation of the Hexapsalmos (liturgical Six Psalms) the recording of which was requested by the Yakut diocese especially for church use. In 2017-2018 the revised 3rd edition of the NT appeared. The book of Proverbs was published in 2016 and officially presented in Yakutsk in December 2017. Plenty of good responses followed from readers, and Proverbs was called “a tuning-fork for self-examination” on the website of the Yakut diocese. In 2018 it was reprinted. The most recent IBT publication is the illustrated book of Jonah. The Yakut team decided to prepare their own set of illustrations, since Yakuts especially value their own unique style. A talented Yakut artist was found, and she produced a new set of beautiful illustrations. Another unusual decision suggested by the Yakut team was to make this book trilingual: the Yakut text is laid out in parallel with the Russian and English texts of Jonah. This will hopefully make this publication popular among young Yakuts, who need to study English for their professional growth.
Feedback: One elderly Orthodox woman shared, “I try my best to read the Bible daily. I love reading Psalms, but previously I was reading them in Old Slavonic, and many words were not clear to me. It was difficult to understand. But then Psalms was published in Yakut, and what a joy! How clear the entire text became! My whole impression of the book of Psalms changed. And since the NT appeared, I have started reading the Apostle Paul’s Epistles every day. And all the Gospels in Yakut are also clear and their text is enjoyable. I am so grateful to the IBT translation team that they are preparing such a gift for our small people. Whenever a new Bible book appears in Yakut, all the Orthodox Christians from my community rejoice greatly. And if more new Old Testament books are translated, this will be embraced as a miracle and good news!”
Current work: Genesis, Ruth, Esther, Jonah and Song of Songs have been consultant checked, and Exodus is planned for a consultant checking session in autumn 2019. The book of Genesis will be published together with the reprint of Psalms. Numbers is being drafted right now. Deuteronomy is being exegetically checked. The team is steadily moving forward on the path towards the full Bible.
Besides the OT translations, work proceeds on the biblical-theological wordbook, which was requested by the Yakut diocese. This was a new and difficult task and much wisdom was required to accomplish it.
Your donation will allow IBT to continue the Yakut Bible translation in 2019.