November 2012 Newsletter on the Kalmyk project

The Kalmyks are famous for their Kalmyk tea, a very special drink with cream, salt and spices, but no sugar. You drink a cup of this tea for breakfast and you do not have to eat any food till lunch time. They boast of their keen eyesight and good teeth thanks to this sugarless diet. The Kalmyks are the only Buddhist people in the whole of Europe, so they should be, and actually are, contemplative in comparison to other Europeans. They have deservedly earned their reputation as calm and peaceful people, who are never in a hurry. They have also earned their reputation as an intellectual nation because they have adopted chess as their national game and it is being taught even to little children from the first years of schooling...

September 2012 Newsletter on the Dolgan project

The Dolgans are a young nation. For their national identity was recognized only during the 20th century! Their language derives from Yakut and although culturally and ethnically these two peoples of the North are distinct, for many years the Dolgans were used to calling themselves “Yakut”. Only in the 1960s did scholars decide that the Dolgan language was sufficiently different from Yakut that it could be considered a separate language and not just a dialect. But reality is that the newly recognized Dolgan national language is on the edge of extinction...

June 2012 Newslatter on the Crimean Tatar project

It was an ordinary working day in our IBT office. Two translation teams had come to Moscow for consultations. For both teams it was the final stage of their work. Both Bibles are already fully translated. In one case the Bible is almost ready to be submitted to the publication department, and the last technical details are being discussed. In another case the team is working with the third and fourth drafts of different Bible books. I was intrigued by the similarity of these two situations and I wondered how the translators representing two great people groups, one from the Caucasus and one from the Crimea, feel after their tremendous work.

April 2012 Newsletter on the Tatar project

The Tatar project is a very special one, for the Tatars are the second largest ethnic group of the Russian Federation after the Russians. This is no wonder, for the histories of the two peoples are deeply intertwined and in the course of the centuries the two cultures have interpenetrated each other profoundly. The Mongol-Tatar invasion of Rus’ in 1237 and their subsequent domination of it (the so called Yoke, which lasted till 1480) was a great blow to this young Slavic Christian culture and changed the course of Russian history for ever. The Mongol-Tatars of that period were pagan tribes of different origins and thus they assimilated the customs and traditions of conquered peoples rather easily, but in 1262 the Golden Horde announced its adoption of Islam...

January 2012 Newsletter on the Nenets project

“The choom is made of reindeer skins and covered with tarpaulin, so it is really warm inside even when it is very cold outside. You should take your tame deer always with you into the choom, otherwise they go completely crazy because of the mosquitoes”, - this is how Tatiana Lar, the translator in our Nenets project and a world famous singer of national Nenets songs and epics, starts her story.