Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Goans To Get Bible In Local Language

May 16, 2006

Goans To Get Bible In Local Language

PANAJI, India (UCAN) -- The Archdiocese of Goa and Daman has undertaken an 18-million-rupee (US$4 million) project to print the Bible in Konkani, the official language of Goa state.

Father Manuel Gomes, head of the archdiocese's commission for the biblical apostolate, told UCA News that they hope to bring out the first copies in June.

The 2,300-page hardbound translation in Roman script will have a retail price of 300 rupees (US$6.67), but the archdiocese is selling it at half price for advance orders. It plans an initial print run of 60,000 copies and already has received orders for 40,000 copies through its parishes, Father Gomes said.

Natives of Goa, a coastal state in western India, have waited 450 years to get the Bible translated into Konkani, even though Jesuits established Asia's first printing press there in 1556. India has 22 officially recognized languages and 1,630 dialects, 33 of these spoken by at least 100,000 people. The Bible has been translated into many of these tongues.

Father Francis Caldeira, who earlier headed the archdiocesan biblical commission, blames lack of encouragement from the Portuguese for the delay in printing the Bible in Konkani.

The Portuguese ruled Goa from 1510 until India took control through military action in 1961. Panaji, the state capital, is about 1,910 kilometers southwest of New Delhi.

Father Caetano Cruz Fernandes, a theologian, said that until 1961, "there was no scope for translation" of the Bible into Konkani. The archdiocese began to use Konkani from 1965, following a demand for Mass in the local language. It used a translation from the Latin text.

According to Father Gomes, the "real impetus" for the translation came after the archdiocesan synod in February 2000, which "made a forceful demand for a Konkani Bible."

Father Caldeira, who now directs St. Pius X Pastoral Institute, said the first portion of the Bible translated into Konkani was Psalms, in 1920. A translation of the New Testament was completed in 1974.

Father Ave Maria Afonso, who was also involved in the translation, said translation of the Old Testament took almost 15 years. The committee used the Jerusalem Bible as the standard for translation, but it ran into difficulty and had to make reference to different versions of the Bibles.

Translators also had to consult other references in some cases, Father Caldeira said. "This is a slow process and cannot be hurried," he told UCA News. The priest also pointed out that Konkani became a popular reading language only after Goa adopted it as the state's official language in 1987.


Source: http://www.ucanews.com/

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