Tuesday, November 15, 2011

HCSB philosophy impacts Chinese translation

In China, a professed atheistic nation of 1.3 billion people, Christianity is growing at a staggering pace. Missiologists estimate that there were approximately 3 million Christians in China in the early 1970s. Today, estimates place the number of believers at approximately 130 million believers -- an estimate some say would increase significantly if an accurate count could be made of believers worshipping in house churches.

Yet even with the explosive growth aided by the rise of the information age, Chinese believers have lacked an accurate Bible translation in contemporary language.

Based on the framework of the HCSB translation process, LifeWay in 2006 began a collaborative project with The Asia Bible Society and GrapeCity, a multifaceted software company in Asia, to produce the Chinese Standard Bible (CSB), an accurate and readable translation of the Bible in modern Mandarin Chinese.

According to Aaron Ma, director of Bible translation projects for the Asia Bible Society, the New Testament Simplified edition was completed in 2008 and the New Testament Traditional edition will be released soon.

The number of Chinese speakers is increasing at a fast pace and the language continues to evolve rapidly. The most widely used Bible in China is the Chinese Union Version (CUV), translated more than 90 years ago by missionaries. Because the CUV was translated almost a century ago, it uses language quite different from the common language of today, Ma explained. As a result, most Chinese find the CUV challenging to read and difficult to understand. Readers of the CUV often do not fully grasp the message, said translators serving on the CSB team.

The goal of the CSB is to provide Chinese-speaking people around the world with an accurate, readable Bible in contemporary Chinese, said Ma. In approaching the project, the philosophy of the HCSB meshed with the planners of the CSB. To read more, click here.

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