The New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures in Estonian was nominated for the Language Deed of the Year Award in Estonia for 2014. Out of the 18 nominees, it came in third place in the final voting.
This new Bible translation, released on August 8, 2014, was nominated for the award by linguist Kristiina Ross of the Institute of the Estonian Language. She described the New World Translation as “easy and enjoyable to read,” adding: “The work that went into creating it has significantly enhanced the field of Estonian translation.” Rein Veidemann, a professor of Estonian literature and culture, called the new translation “a great achievement.”
The first complete Estonian Bible was published in 1739, and since then other translations have been produced. Why, then, is the New World Translation such “a great achievement”?
Accuracy. A popular Estonian Bible published in 1988 commendably translates God’s name as “Jehoova” (Jehovah) over 6,800 times in the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament). a The New World Translation in Estonian does this and more. Where there is a clear basis for doing so, the New World Translation also uses the divine name in the Christian Greek Scriptures (New Testament).
Clarity. Does the New World Translation meet the challenge of being both accurate and readable? Respected Bible translator Toomas Paul wrote in the Eesti Kirik (Church of Estonia) newspaper that the New World Translation “has certainly achieved the goal of being translated into fluent Estonian.” He added: “I can assure you that this is the first time that this goal has been reached.”
The response of Estonians to the New World Translation has been outstanding. A national radio station hosted a 40-minute program dedicated to the new Bible. Clergymen and churchgoers alike have contacted Jehovah’s Witnesses in order to obtain copies. An elite school in Tallinn requested 20 copies of the New World Translation to use in one of its classes. Estonians love books, and Jehovah’s Witnesses are happy to provide an accurate and clear translation of the best book ever written.
a After relating how Estonians came to pronounce the divine name as “Jehoova,” Ain Riistan, chair of New Testament Studies at the University of Tartu, concluded: “I think that the word Jehoova is very well-suited today. Despite its origin, it has had . . . a very important and deep meaning for many generations—Jehoova is the name of the God who sent his Son to redeem mankind.”