TRANSLATION

Translation Present

The population of Myanmar is about 57 million and Buddhism is practiced by 89.3 percent of the population. Christianity is practised by 5.6 percent, Islam by 3.8 percent, Hinduism by 0.5 percent and Animism by 0.2 percent respectively. There are altogether 135 ethnic groups, also known as ”National Races”, and there are about 200 spoken languages. The main ethnic groups are Kachin, Kayin, Chin, Bamar (Myanmar), Mon, Rakhine and Shan. Among them, Myanmar (formerly known as Burmese) is the official language and spoken by about 70% of the population as their first language.
According to a 2010 survey, the Scriptures (Bible, New Testament, and Portions) have been translated in nearly 65 languages. Most of the orthographic systems were developed by the western missionaries. For some, the Bibles were translated by missionaries. As the churches are significantly growing today among the ethnic groups, there is a great demand for new Bible translations.
In response to the request of Christians among ethnic minority groups and pastors and Bible schools, the Bible Society of Myanmar has explored ways to meet the needs in publication of newly translated New Testaments, Bibles, Revisions and Study Bibles.
The Bible Society of Myanmar has 18 translation projects for 2011. Some projects have completed drafting their translation manuscripts and are waiting for reviewing, consultant checking and typesetting. The detailed background information follows:

1. Falam Chin New Testament

Falam Chin is one of the ethnic groups in Northern Chin State, in the western part of Myanmar. Falam is also a district headquarters of government offices. The population is about 120,000. They become Christian more than 100 years ago and almost all are Christians. The Holy Bible in Falam Chin was first launched in 1991.

After using the Holy Bible which was translated from Good News Bible of English version, the church leaders request a new Bible which is more literal than the first one for the special purpose of exgetical preaching and Bible study.

As a result the Bible Society decided to launch a translation project of Falam New Testament. Together with the Bible Society of Myanmar, Chin Baptist Union will be implementing as the main organization for Falam Chin Christians. The project starts with one translator however, by next year another translator will join the project so that there will be two translators.

The New testament translation project will start next year as started in April 2017 and expects to complete by 2021.

2.  Geba New Testament

Geba is one of the ethnic minority groups of the Sgaw Kayin tribe with a population 40,000 living in Kayin State, eastern part of Myanmar. Since 2002, SIL has helped language development with Geba.

The Geba New Testament translation project was started 2015 and to date 27 books has been translated, 17 books reviewed and 10 books checked by Nant Aye Aye Chit, the assigned Translation Officer. The estimated completion date is 2018. Geba New Testament Translation is different from others in using two separate scripts (Roman based and Kayin based) for the Scripture.

3. Khualsim Old Testament

The Khualsim Chin live in the northern part of Chin State, the western part of Myanmar. The Khualsim Chin New Testament was dedicated in 2013 (Dr Ji-Youn Cho participated at dedication). The Committee requested for Old Testament translation in 2014. The Bible Society of Myanmar has done research and decided to start the Old Testament Translation project.

The project was launched in 2015 and expected to complete by the end of 2018. All books had been translated and 15 books reviewed by the committee and translation draft of 8 books had been checked by Rev Khoi Lam Thang, the assigned Translation Officer.

4. Lacid New Testament Study Bible

The Lacid people, minority groups of the Kachin tribe, living in the northern part of Myanmar is one of the ethnic with a population over 100,000. The Lacid New Testament project started in 1991 and published in 2005. They continued to translate the Old Testament and printed in 2010.

As they already have the Holy Bible, the Lacid translation committee started translating the New Testament Study Bible in 2010 and completed 2016. The Bible Society is waiting another years to start the translation of Old Testament Study Bible.

5. Lautu Old Testament

The Lautu people are one of the ethnic minority groups of the Chin tribe with a population over 20,000. They live in the central part Chin state. Christianity among Lautu started in 1930 and literacy was developed by Bishop Anore Bareights, a Catholic missionary. The New Testament in Lautu was dedicated in 2016 for the first time.

Upon the request of the Lautu Bible Translation Committee, the Old Testament project started early 2017 and 5 books have been translated. The translation drafts have not been checked. The estimated completion date is 2020.

6Paoh Old Testament Project

The Paoh people are one of the ethnic minority groups. They live in Shan State, eastern part of Myanmar with a population of more than 1,000,000. The Christian population among Paoh people is less than 1%. The first New Testament was published in 1961 during the time of missionaries. The Paoh Common Language New Testament translation project was started in 1987 and launched in 2009.

Upon the formal request of the Paoh Bible Translation Committee, Old Testament translation was started in 2010. All books had been translated and 30 books reviewed by the committee. Translation draft of 8 books had been checked by Dr Ji-Youn Cho, the assigned Translation Officer. The estimated completion date of the project is 2018.

7. Tedim New Testament

Tedim is one of the ethnic groups in Northern Chin State, in the western part of Myanmar. The population is about 150,000. They become Christian more than 100 years ago and almost all are Christians. The Holy Bible in Tedim was first launched in 1977.

After using the Holy Bible which was translated from Good News Bible of English version, the church leaders request a new Bible which is more literal than the first one for the special purpose of exgetical preaching and Bible study.

Together with the Bible Society of Myanmar, Zomi Christian Literature Society will be implementing as the main organization for Tedim people.

As a result the Bible Society decided to launch a translation project of Tedim New Testament. The New Testament translation project will start in January 2018 and expects to complete by 2022.

8. Zaiwa Old Testament

The Zaiwa people are one of the ethnic minority groups of the Kachin tribe with a population of over 50,000, overlapping the border of Myanmar and China. Zaiwa New Testament was published and dedicated in 2009.

The Zaiwa Bible Translation Committee asked for Old Testament translation and the project was launched in 2012. To date, 15 books had been translated and Mr Ze Zawng, the assigned Translation Officer has already checked 6 books. The estimated completion is 2019.

9.  Zo Chin Old Testament

The Zo Chin overlaps the border of India and Myanmar living in the northern part of Chin State. The majority of the Zo Chin people are Christian. Even though the Zo Chin Bible has been translated and published in India, many vocabularies are not well understood in Myanmar. Therefore, the Zo Chin New Testament translation was started in 1998 and completed in 2007.

After publication of New Testament, the Old Testament translation project was requested in 2009. The committee is now translating the Bible but due to the health failure of the translator, the work has been slowed down. Unfortunately, the translator (Rev Mang Kho Lien) passed away in January 12, 2012. The committee has appointed new translator and the work is carried on. All books had been translated and 30 books had been checked by Rev Dr Nang Sawm Piang, the assigned Translation Officer. The estimated completion date is 2018.

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