JULY 3, 2020
In the midst of the ongoing global health crisis, Jehovah’s Witnesses continue to release the Bible in new languages. On June 28, 2020, the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures was released in four different languages: Swati, Tsonga, Zulu, and Chitonga. The New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures was also released in Belize Kriol and Totonac. COVID-19 restrictions did not diminish the excitement of the brothers and sisters who received these Bibles in electronic format. They were released in prerecorded talks and publishers watched the programs via videoconference or video streaming.
Swati, Tsonga, and Zulu
Brother Geoffrey Jackson, a member of the Governing Body, released the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures in Swati and the revised New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures in Tsonga and Zulu in electronic format (see lead image). Publishers in South Africa and Eswatini tied in for the special meeting.
In the South Africa branch territory, an estimated 18.5 million people speak Swati, Tsonga, and Zulu, which includes more than 38,000 publishers.
Brother Augustine Semo, a member of the Malawi Branch Committee, announced the release of the complete New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures in the Chitonga (Malawi) language.
A translation team worked for over two years to complete the new Bible in Chitonga. One translator explained: “There are three dialects of the Chitonga language. People from one region use vocabulary that is not familiar to those in another region. We carefully chose words that can be understood by the majority. Additionally, we used footnotes to clarify terms that may be unfamiliar to the reader.”
Another translator said: “Publishers will find this Bible easy to use in the ministry or at the meetings because the language is simple and clear, making it easy to read and understand.”
Brother Joshua Killgore of the Central America Branch Committee released the New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures in Belize Kriol. More than 1,300 viewers tied in to the program.
A group of six translators worked for 16 months to complete the project. Regarding the benefits of this new translation, one of them said: “Our brothers and sisters finally have a Bible translation that is accurate and reliable. It will be like a lamp lighting up their understanding.”
“In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, our brothers and sisters who speak Belize Kriol will be able to read the Scriptures in their language,” said another translator. “This can soothe their anxious hearts and help them to cope better with the trials ahead.”
In Belize, there are 867 publishers in 19 Belize Kriol-language congregations. An additional 58 publishers serve in the Belize Kriol field in the United States.
Brother Jesse Pérez, a member of the Central America Branch Committee, released the New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures in Totonac. An estimated 2,200 viewers from the 50 Totonac-language congregations in the branch territory tied in for the program.
The translation team completed this project in just over three years. This translation will be a valuable tool when preaching the good news to the more than 250,000 people who speak Totonac in Mexico.
Unlike other Totonac-language Bibles, the New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures “uses our everyday language,” said one translator. “Now, it will be easier for us to explain different Bible topics to the people in our communities.”
“Our brothers and sisters have been longing for a Bible like this one,” added another member of the translation team. “Until recently, some publishers would make their own Totonac translations of Bible verses from the Spanish version to present an assignment during the midweek meeting. But this will no longer be necessary when citing the Greek Scriptures.”
An important feature of this new translation is that its footnotes supply different renderings of some of the terms that appear in the main text. These renderings are synonyms used by people who speak other Totonac variants, thus making this translation appealing to all who speak the language.
We rejoice with our brothers and sisters who received these Bibles in their native languages. We know that their faith will be strengthened as they use their ‘sword of the spirit’ in their ministry and personal study.—Hebrews 4:12.