Institute for Bible Translation
The Institute for Bible Translation (IBT) was founded in Stockholm, Sweden in 1973 by the Bosnian-Croatian poet Borislav Arapović, its main task being to publish Bibles for "non-Slavic peoples in Slavic countries," not just Bible translations into the languages of Russia but also Central Asian languages.
Eighty-five million people in non-Slavic ethnic groups living in the former Soviet Union—now CIS, including Russia—represent a tremendous diversity of languages (at least 130 different languages) and religions (Islam, Buddhism and shamanism). The Institute for Bible Translation is also a part of the Forum of Bible Agencies International.
History of IBT
1970s: Reprints of 19th-century translations
Initially IBT also republished 19thC BFBS versions which had fallen out of print, such as the Psalms in Yakut (1897, reprinted IBT 1975).
1980s: new translations programme
The IBT office in Helsinki was opened in 1983. It coordinates the translation projects in 12 Finno-Ugric languages spoken in Russia. In 1988 IBT supplied 150,000 copies of the Lopukhin Bible free of charge to the Orthodox Patriarchate. At the time this, and an earlier shipment of 100,000 copies, almost doubled the number of Bibles in circulation in the USSR.
1990s: registration in Moscow
Since 1995 IBT Russia/CIS (Russian: Институт перевода Библии) has been registered in Moscow. The staff members are from various Christian denominations. The current director is Dr. Vitaly Voinov. IBT's Moscow office coordinates the work of 65 translation teams, whose members may live in different areas or even in different countries. It arranges training courses for them and organizes seminars and conferences. The Bible texts are prepared there for printing. The Institute also produces Scripture books for children, Bible reference works and language-related research material. IBT in Russia/CIS cooperates with churches and religious organizations of all Christian denominations, national Bible Societies, scientific (academic) institutions and the state authorities.
IBT is a member of the Forum of Bible Agencies International. In some translation projects, the institute works in partnership with other international Bible agencies, such as the United Bible Societies, the SIL/Wycliffe Bible Translators and Pioneer Bible Translators.
The aim of IBT is to produce accurate and faithful translations that reveal the Bible's message to modern readers. So far IBT has translated and published the Bible, or portions of it, in more than 80 languages, including 5 (Tajik, Georgian, Tuvin, Chechen and Udmurt) complete Bibles and 31 New Testaments. IBT's Children's Bible has been published in 38 languages.
Languages in which IBT works include:
- Ibero-Caucasian: Abaza, Abkhaz, Avar, Adygei, Agul, Andi, Bezhta, Dargin, Georgian, Kabardian, Lak, Lezgi, Rutul, Tabassaran, Tsakhur, Tsez
- Iranian language group: Baluchi, Digor, Kurdish (Kurmanji), Ossetian, Rushani, Shughni, Tajik, Tat, Wakhi, Yasgulyam,
- Isolates: Ket, Nivkh, Yukagir,
- Mongolian: Buryat, Kalmyk,
- Manchu-Tungus: Nanai, Even, Evenki
- Paleo-Asiatic: Chukchi, Itelmen, Koryak
- Samoyedic: Enets, Nenets, Nganassan
- Sino-Tibetan: Dungan
- Turkic: Altai, Azeri, Balkar, Bashkir, Crimean Tatar, Chuvash, Dolgan, Gagauzi, Karachai, Khakas, Kumyk, Nogai, Shor, Tatar, Tuvin, Uzbek, Yakut
- Stephen K. Batalden, Kathleen Cann, John Dean Sowing the word: the cultural impact of the British and Foreign Bible Society 2004 page 221 "The edition was published in 1898 at Kazan in a print run of 3000 copies. At least one reprint was made in 1975, when with the consent of BFBS the Institute for Bible Translation (IBT) reprinted 2000"
- Religion in communist lands Volumes 16-17 Centre for the Study of Religion and Communism - 1988 "Greater controversy has been caused by the sale of copies of the Lopukhin Bible. This was supplied entirely free of charge to the Moscow Patriarchate by Scandinavian Christians and the Stockholm-based Institute for Bible Translation (IBT). In March 1988 the Leningrad samizdat journal Nevsky dukhovny vestnik (Nevsky Spiritual Herald) reported that..."
- Folia orientalia Volume 39 Polska Akademia Nauk. Komisja Orientalistyczna - 2003 "The translation is entitled Mkini and was published in 2000 by the Institute for Bible Translation seated in Stockholm and Moscow, afterwards referred to as: NT(IBT)."
- Mathijs Pelkmans Conversion after socialism: disruptions, modernisms and Technologies of Faith in the Former Soviet Union Journal of Church and State. Aug 2010 Page 80 "Only in 2004 was the first part of Bible, the Gospel of Luke, translated into Nenets by Maria Barmich, a Nenets linguist. The translation was commissioned by the Institute for Bible Translation (IBT) in Stockholm (see Barmich 2004)."