Magazine article Anglican Journal

Team Translates Bible into Inuktitut: 24-Year Project Helps Preserve Inuit Languages

Magazine article Anglican Journal

Team Translates Bible into Inuktitut: 24-Year Project Helps Preserve Inuit Languages

Article excerpt

The Canadian Bible Society, working with a translation team of Inuit Anglican clergy, has completed the 24-year task of translating the Bible into Inuktitut, the language of the Inuit of the eastern Arctic and northern Quebec.

"Translating the Bible into Inuktitut has given our language importance and has preserved it," said Canon Jonas Allooloo, a member of the team. The group also included Bishop Andrew Atagotaaluk, Canon Benjamin Arreak, Rev. Joshua Arreak and Rev. James Nashak, all from the diocese of the Arctic.

The monumental task -- the Old Testament and New Testament contain about 750,000 words -- was not simply a matter of straight translation. It posed the challenge of translating words and concepts from a Middle Eastern desert culture into the language of a land with no trees and vast amounts of ice and snow.

"Many living languages have no words to describe daily life in ancient Palestine. The Inuit people recognize six or seven seasons that do not really correspond either to English terms (spring, summer, fall, winter) or to biblical seasons (rainy, dry)," said Hart Wiens, director of scripture translation for the Toronto-based Canadian Bible Society. …

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