Today, September 30, we celebrate International Translation Day. When a Bible is launched in a new language, it opens up the Word of God for people in their own language for the first time. But Bible Societies also make new translations. You can read about one example here.
Praise God for the launch of the “Te Baibara – Te Rairai Ae Boou” (Kiribati New Version Bible or the Kiribati Contemporary Bible) on September 17 in Tarawa, Kiribati. The project started in November 1988 with the translation of the New Testament.
The new features which may be regarded as adding value to the Kiribati New Version Bible help to make it more user-friendly for better reading and in-depth Bible study. The features are as follow:
- Section headings
- Book introductions
- Cross references or Bible references
- Illustration and captions
- Some changes in names or biblical terms
- Digitisation – accessibility through tablets and mobile phones (YouVersion)
The Rev Apenisa Lewatoro, Translation Officer at the Bible Society in the South Pacific, said in his speech at the launch, “It must be understood that the new translation is an example of a meaning-based translation whereas the current Kiribati Old Version (KOV = ‘Te Baibara’) is an example of a literal-based translation.
“The missionary-translated Bible (Kiribati Old Version) reflects the word-for-word translation like the King James Version Bible (which follows closely the Hebrew and Greek manuscripts). On the other hand, the indigenous Kiribati-translated Bible (Kiribati New Version) shares the meaning of the words in the original biblical languages and is like the Good News Bible in English.
“Both Bibles (KOV and KNV) have their important purposes and I would highly recommend that every Bible-loving person in Kiribati would need to have both copies of these Scriptures. Based on my own experience, since the New Version is in the contemporary Kiribati language and is a lot clearer in terms of reading for understanding, a lot of young people will be more inclined to this particular Scripture.
“It will take a while for the older generation to adjust to anything new, even the New Version. In my position as a pastor, the Kiribati New Version will help people to better understand the message of the Gospel for a transformed life. As they grow towards maturity they will move to the Kiribati Old Version for deeper study of the living Word of God.”
33 million people received a Bible in their own language in 2015
In 2015, Bible Societies assisted in the completion of translations in 50 languages spoken by nearly 160 million people.
2015 was ‘a first’ for no fewer than 28 languages, spoken by nearly 33 million people. 11 communities now have their very first full Bible, six have a New Testament and 11 have their first, or additional, portions of Scripture.
The Bible in Braille
During 2015 we saw the 44th language getting a full Bible in Braille. 285 million people are estimated to be visually impaired worldwide, of whom 40 million are blind. A Braille Bible usually consists of more than 40 bulky volumes making the transcription and production of a complete Bible in Braille a significant undertaking.
Sign Language Bibles
Sign Language is the first or ‘heart’ language for 70 million deaf people worldwide and there are over 400 unique Sign Languages. The New Testament is only available in American Sign Language. UBS, in close partnership with other international ministries, is seeking to meet this Scripture need for what is now recognised as a major unreached people group. Bible Societies are currently partners in 14 ongoing projects and another nine are just beginning or in the planning stage.