The book of Jonah in the Nenets Language
September 24, 2021

The Institute for Bible Translation has published the first Old Testament book in the Nenets language. The Nenets are a Samoyedic people that live in the far north of Russia. According to the 2010 census, the Nenets language is spoken by almost 22,000 people.

The Nenets people are already familiar with several New Testament books from IBT’s previously published translations : Luke's Gospel (1995, 2004); Stories about Jesus (2003, 2011 with an audio CD); Mark's Gospel (2010); John's Gospel with an audio CD (2014); Matthew's Gospel (2018), and a collection of illustrated Gospel  Parables (2020).

IBT decided to introduce the Nenets to the Old Testament with the narrative book of the prophet Jonah. The translation was published as a large-format hardback edition, colourfully decorated with illustrations by artist Irina Pavlishina from Khabarovsk. Since most of the Nenets people are bilingual, a parallel Russian translation was added to the Nenets text. The print run of 1,500 copies was sent to the Yamal Peninsula, an area densely populated by speakers of the tundra dialect of the Nenets language.

An experienced translation team  worked on this book: translator Larisa Okotetto; philological editor Tatyana Lar; exegetical advisor and field-tester Eun Sub Song; UBS translation consultant Dr Marijke de Lang; and others. The text was field-tested with native speakers of Nenets in Yamal.

This book, as well as the previous ones, can be read and listened to on the IBT website. All translations into Nenets are also included in the Нум' Падар (Nenets Bible) Android app as they are published.