IBT has published and officially presented the first-ever translation of the full Bible in Uzbek. This Turkic language is spoken by up to 30 million people worldwide, primarily in the Central Asian nation of Uzbekistan. Uzbek now joins about 600 other languages that have a full translation of the canonical Holy Scriptures (less than 10% of the world’s total languages.)
The first known translation of Scripture portions into Uzbek was the 4 Gospels using the Arabic script, published in Leipzig in 1891 by the British and Foreign Bible Society with the help of Russian scholar Nikolai Ostroumov. New work on the Uzbek Bible was started by IBT in the mid-1970s in Sweden with the help of scholars and Uzbek speakers in Germany, Israel and the U.S.A., resulting in the publication of the New Testament, Genesis and Psalms in 1992. This was received with great interest in Uzbekistan, and parts of one of the Gospels were even reprinted by a Tashkent newspaper. The next part of the translation project -- translating the rest of the Old Testament and thoroughly revising the New Testament -- was done mostly within Uzbekistan by mother-tongue Uzbek scholars working with IBT and partner organizations SIL International, the United Bible Societies, and the newly-formed Bible Society of Uzbekistan (BSU). This took 23 more years to complete and culminated in the 2016 printing of the full Bible by IBT Russia and BSU.
The official Bible presentation was held by BSU and IBT in Tashkent on June 1, 2017 at the headquarters of the Tashkent diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church. The presentation was attended by representatives of Uzbekistan’s Committee of Religious Affairs, the Russian Orthodox Church, the embassies of Russia and the United States, the United Bible Societies (including the Bible societies of Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan), the Islamic University of Tashkent, and leaders of various Christian confessions.
The Uzbek Bible is available for downloading from IBT’s website. The next stage of the project is to produce an audio recording of the full text of the Bible for Uzbeks who prefer to listen to the Holy Scriptures in their mother tongue.