The Bible in the Tatar Language
March 26, 2016

IBT has published the first-ever full translation of the Bible in the Tatar language.  This is the fifth translation of a complete Bible into a non-Slavic language of Russia, following upon Chuvash, Tuvan, Chechen and Udmurt.  Worldwide, the entire Bible has been translated into about 565 languages, now including Tatar.

IBT’s Bible translation work into Tatar lasted more than 23 years.  The work was carried out by specialists in linguistics, biblical studies, and the Tatar language from IBT, SIL and UBS,  in cooperation with the Academy of Sciences of Tatarstan, and  was printed with a stamp of approval from the Institute of Linguistics at the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Work on translation of the Bible into the Tatar language has a long and complicated history.  The first translations of individual books were done back in the 19th century.  Then, after almost a century-long hiatus, activity was resumed on Bible translation into the modern-day Tatar language by the Institute for Bible Translation.  Translation work began afresh in the mid-1980s on books of both Old and New Testaments.  The New Testament (Injil) was published in 2001, the Pentateuch (Taurat) in 2007.

In order to guarantee that the meaning of the translation is in complete accord with the ancient original texts, each verse was compared with the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia for the Hebrew/Aramaic Old Testament and the Nestle-Aland edition of the Greek New Testament.   For the sake of maximal naturalness, it was edited by experienced linguists and stylists. Another important part of the procedure was field testing the clarity of the translation with native speakers of the language. 

In the opinion of a scholarly reviewer, “the translation of the Bible into modern Tatar was accomplished at a high level, in correspondence with the modern literary norms of the Tatar language.  This translation has long been needed, and its publication is highly timely.  Work on the translation has contributed to … enriching the lexical-semantic possibilities of the language, widening its conceptual-terminological toolkit, and contributing to the evolution of its literary norms.” IBT hopes that the first full translation of the Bible in the Tatar language will assume a worthy place in the culture of Tatarstan and will promote better understanding of the sacred text among the Tatar community.

The text of the Bible in the Tatar language in PDF-format can be found on the IBT website under e-books.