2018 a Banner Year for New Scripture Translations; More to Come in 2019

Contributed By Camille West, LDS.org Church News

  • 1 April 2019

A family in Ghana studies the scriptures together. Last year was a banner year for new scripture translations and products, with more to come in 2019.

“As members prayerfully learn and teach from the scriptures, their testimonies will grow and they will receive greater direction in their daily lives.” —The First Presidency

Last year was a banner year for the number of scriptures translated and released in new languages, and members can look forward to additional translations in 2019.

In 2018, between scriptures translated for the first time in a language, updates to existing scriptures, and new scripture products, 22 languages had access to new versions of scripture products for the first time, either digitally—online at ChurchofJesusChrist.org and in the Gospel Library app—or in print.

New digital versions

Electronic versions of new and updated scriptures are now available online at ChurchofJesusChrist.org and in the Gospel Library mobile app in AmharicAfrikaansFinnishChinese (Traditional Characters), Chinese (Simplified Characters), Serbian, Slovenian, Malay, Kekchi, Finnish, Malagasy, and Fante.

Digital versions of scripture translations that have already existed in print were also added for the first time on ChurchofJesusChrist.org in seven languages: Kuna, Catalan, Yoruba, Rarotongan, Mam, Quiche, and Tzotzil.

Kuna is spoken by the Guna people of Panama and Colombia. Catalan is spoken in Catalonia, Valencia, and the Balearic Islands in Spain. Outside of Spain, it is the official language of Andorra. It is also spoken in some parts of France and Italy. Yoruba is spoken in Nigeria, Benin, Togo, the UK, Brazil, and the U.S. Rarotongan is spoken on the island of Rarotonga in the Cook Islands. Mam is spoken in Guatemala, mainly in Quetzaltenango, Huehuetenango, and San Marcos. It is also spoken in the Mexican state of Chiapas. Quiche is spoken by the Kʼicheʼ people of the central highlands of Guatemala. Tzotzil is spoken by the Tzotzil people, a group of Mayan Indians living in central Chiapas in southeastern Mexico.

In 2018, an updated edition of the triple combination of the scriptures was published in Chinese (Traditional Characters) and Chinese (Simplified Characters).

New triple combinations

In 2018, the First Presidency announced the publication of a new edition of the triple combination of the scriptures and a new edition of the Book of Mormon in five languages: Malay, Serbian, Afrikaans, Amharic, and Slovenian.

The triple combination contains the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, the Pearl of Great Price, a helpful study aid titled Guide to the Scriptures, and other study aids.

Malay is spoken in Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei, and Thailand. Serbian is spoken mainly in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Croatia, and Macedonia. Afrikaans is spoken in South Africa, Namibia, and also in Botswana and Zimbabwe. Amharic is spoken in Ethiopia. Slovenian is spoken mainly in Slovenia but also in Italy, particularly in Friuli Venezia Giulia; in Austria, especially in Carinthia and Styria; in Vas in Hungary; and also in Croatia.

Updated editions of triple combinations

The updated triple combination incorporates various adjustments approved by the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve. Most of the adjustments are in the study helps and in the headings of the Doctrine and Covenants, with some minor spelling and meaning corrections in the text. Scripture verses in the new edition have the same page numbers as the previous edition.

During 2018, updated editions of the triple combination of the scriptures were announced for six languages: Chinese (Traditional Characters), Chinese (Simplified Characters), Kekchi, Finnish, Malagasy, and Fante.

Kekchi is spoken in Guatemala and Belize. Finnish is mainly spoken in Finland and also spoken in Sweden. Malagasy is the national and official language of Madagascar and is also spoken in Comoros, Réunion, and Mayotte. Communities of Malagasy speakers are in France and Quebec in Canada and there are smaller groups in Belgium and Washington D.C. in the U.S. Fante is the major local dialect in the Central Region of Ghana and is spoken over much of the southern half of Ghana.

In October 2018, the First Presidency announced approval to translate the triple combination of the scriptures in Macedonian and Kazakh, stating the preliminary portions will be made available online and in the Gospel Library app. Macedonian is the principle language in Macedonia and a recognized minority language in parts of Albania, Romania, and Serbia. Kazakh is spoken in Russia, Afghanistan, Iran, Turkey, and Germany.

A new edition of the triple combination of the scriptures and a new edition of the Book of Mormon was published in Serbian in 2018.

Print versions

During 2018, print versions of the triple combination of the scriptures and the Book of Mormon became available in Kiribati, Malay, Chinese (Traditional Characters), Chinese (Simplified Characters), Serbian, and Kekchi through local distribution centers and online at store.ChurchofJesusChrist.org. Kirabati is spoken by people on the Micronesian island of Kirabati.

Updated editions of the Book of Mormon in Yapese and Hiligaynon were also printed. Yapese is spoken by the people on the island of Yap in the Federated States of Micronesia, and Hiligaynon is one of the languages spoken in the Philippines.

“We encourage members to obtain their own copies of the scriptures and to use them in regular personal and family study and in Church meetings and assignments,” the First Presidency stated in letters announcing the availability of new and updated scriptures. “As members prayerfully learn and teach from the scriptures, their testimonies will grow and they will receive greater direction in their daily lives.” “Members are not expected to obtain a new set of scriptures as a result of this updated edition,” the First Presidency stated.

Bibles

During 2018, the Church also announced preferred editions of the Holy Bible in German, Swedish, and Greek. The following are the preferred editions to be used by members and leaders:

  • German: Die Bibel, 2017 edition of the Einheitsübersetzung version.
  • Swedish: Bibeln, Svenska Folkbibeln version of the 2015 XP Media edition (SFV 2015).
  • Greek: ΤΑ ΙΕΡΑ ΓΡΑΜΜΑΤΑ, Spyros Filos version of the 2010 Pergamos Publications edition (SFV 2010).

In addition, the Korean Bible Society licensed the preferred Korean Bible—the New Korean Revised Version of the Holy Bible, 2005 Alternate Terminology Edition—to the Church. The digital version is available online and in the Gospel Library app.

Coming in 2019

Compared to the 22 languages with new print or digital products in 2018, 17 languages can expect new scripture products in 2019.

As of March 29, 2019, printed copies of the scriptures in Amharic, Afrikaans, and Finnish are available through local distribution centers. Slovenian, Malagasy, and Fante print versions are coming by the end of May.

The approval to translate the triple combination of the scriptures in Guarani was announced in February 2019. Guarani is spoken in Paraguay, Argentina, Bolivia, and Brazil. Work will begin after other translation projects have been completed. To allow members earlier access to the translation, preliminary portions will be made available from time to time on ChurchofJesusChrist.org and in the Gospel Library mobile app. An audio recording of this translation will be produced upon the completion of the project.

On March 8, the First Presidency announced a new triple and Book of Mormon in Slovak, with the print version available July 26. Slovak is the principle language of Slovakia.