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OCTOBER 25, 2021

Revised New World Translation Released in Malagasy

Revised New World Translation Released in Malagasy

On October 16, 2021, Brother Anthony Morris, a member of the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses, released the digital edition of the revised New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures in the Malagasy language. The prerecorded special event was streamed to an estimated audience of 40,000. The printed edition is expected to be available in early 2022.

Malagasy is spoken by some 27 million people, primarily in Madagascar, where it is the national language. Although Madagascar is located just 400 kilometers (249 mi) off the coast of Africa, Malagasy belongs to a family of languages spoken in Southeast Asia and the South Pacific that includes Fijian, Indonesian, and Tagalog.

Bible translation into Malagasy has a long history that dates back to the early 1800’s. Missionaries working to translate the Scriptures faced challenges such as malaria, local opposition, and a lack of printing equipment but eventually produced the first complete translation in 1835.

Despite these early efforts, modern Malagasy speakers were left for years without an easy-to-understand translation. However, Jehovah’s Witnesses produced the New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures in 2003. This was followed by the complete New World Translation in 2008.

The revised edition of the New World Translation gives Malagasy speakers an even clearer understanding of Bible truths despite differences in dialects. One translator said: “Because some words are common in big cities but not known in the countryside and on the coast, translators had to use words and expressions that would make the translation as clear as possible for people living in various regions.”

One example is found at Colossians 3:13, where it says: “Continue putting up with one another.” In the previous edition of the New World Translation, readers who use the Eastern dialect would understand this verse to simply mean “continue speaking to each other.” The revised edition uses a different expression that makes clear to all readers the need to overlook others’ shortcomings in a spirit of forgiveness.

Another translator stated: “It was during this project that I prayed the most. I could see how Jehovah helped us through his holy spirit.”

We rejoice with our Malagasy-speaking brothers and sisters as they receive this beautiful expression of Jehovah’s “undeserved kindness.”—1 Peter 4:10.