The Bible: The most translated book in the world

Languages11 September 20145.8k

Available in over 2,800 languages, the Bible is comfortably the most translated piece of work in history.

A central element in the spread of Christianity’s popularity has been its ability to introduce its message to people in their own tongue, which obviously makes it easier for individuals to identify with the themes.

Indeed, religion continues to be one of the most compelling reasons for carrying out translations – the top four literary works by number of translations are of a religious nature. And as we’ve already seen, they take the translation process very seriously.

High-quality translations

Thanks to the good work of the Bible Society of Uganda, the Bible is set to extend its record. The group has announced its intentions to translate the Christian Bible into eight indigenous languages in Uganda.

As part of the plans, the Bible is going to be made available in Adhola, Kumam, Lusoga, Lumasaba and Lusamia/Lugwe. Revisions will also be made to the Luganda, Sabiny and Acholi versions.

Once the process has been completed, the society will have the Bible in 22 languages. It has also translated the book into braille for the visually impaired and made a video version for those with hearing impairments.

Simon Peter Mukhama, general secretary for the Bible Society of Uganda, described scripture as a “daily companion” and so he is determined to make sure people in the country have the opportunity to read it in their local tongue.

He also wants to focus on education. “We could struggle for years translating, but if people can’t read, then the scriptures fail to have meaning,” Mr Mukhama told the American Bible Society.

Quality assurance

At the heart of any good translation project is quality assurance, as organisations have to make sure the content they are producing is grammatically sound in the target language. If serious problems are discovered late on in the process, this could significantly slow down time to market.

A lack of knowledge, time and skills can leave even the most sophisticated organisations with a red face, so always make sure there is a proper process in place. Can you imagine the reputational damage the Bible Society of Uganda would suffer if a litany of errors was discovered?

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