Siberia: The Buryat

Population: 462,000

Location/religion: Southern Siberia; Tibetan Buddhism/Animism.

Language family: Mongolic

Bible portions to date: Matthew/Mark (1909*, reprint IBT 1975), Mark (1996), John (1998), Jesus Friend of children (1999), Children’s Bible (2005, audio-recording 2010), NT (2010), Genesis* (2010, BSR), Stories about Jesus Christ with audio (2012)

The Buryats are Tibetan Buddhists with plenty of Shamanist remnant traits in their religion. They are closely related to Mongols. Buryat territories were annexed by Russia in the 18th century. The Buryat writing system and literary tradition owe its existence to Buddhism. When we started translation work on the New Testament, many Buryat people asked, ‘Why do you translate the Christian Bible? We are Buddhists!’ And some said that this translation was not needed. But later the field tester of the project shared, “It is wonderful to work on the Bible texts –they influence my life and are changing my attitudes towards the world around me. This work also helps me to learn my language better, and I learn how people use the words in their daily speech. My attitude towards the Buryat language has changed, and I speak my language more than before.”

Now the merger team is finalizing a book-by-book read-through of the entire Bible and working on unifying the key terms and name spellings. In mid-September 2019 the IBT Board chairman and the project co-ordinator visited Buryatia and presented Bible texts translated into Buryat to the Evangelical churches and the Orthodox diocese in order to prepare Buryat society for receiving the full Bible in their mother tongue in the near future.

The last stage of spot field-testing of the full Bible was completed and the final consultant checking session took place in December 2019. In January 2020 the Buryat team members took part in a study tour to Israel with the Jerusalem Center for Bible Translators in order to further fine-tune their translation. Now all useful comments from the field-testing, church reviews and new information received during the trip to Israel are being inputted into the text. Work on the glossary, book introductions and additional materials to the Bible books still continues, and one more full read-through of the full Bible by the team members is needed. In February 2020 the IBT director and one of the translators met the leaders of Protestant churches in Buryatia to find mutually acceptable solutions for difficulties in the translation. A professional linguist, who has worked in the Evenki project, is helping as a field-tester for the Buryat Bible. He has already field tested the first six chapters of the Gospel of Mark. The full list of several thousand names in the Buryat Bible has been fully edited for consistency, and all pronouns for God have been adjusted to a more honorific form according to the request of the Buryat Christians. The team plans to submit the full Bible to the IBT publishing department in late 2020, and it is our hope that the book will be published by early 2022.

Approximate budget for pre-publishing preparation (including taxes) and printing the Buryat Bible:

  • Working through the word list by philological editor: $400
  • Read-through of full Bible by NT translator: $2,000
  • Read-through of full Bible by philological editor: $2,000
  • Read-through of full Bible by exegetical checker: $2,000
  • Typesetter’s wage: $1,700
  • Translation department and administrative expenses: $1,300

Subtotal: $9,400



Everyone Needs to Hear of God's Love in Their Own Language!