Albanian Translation of New Testament Nears Completion

A project to translate the New Testament into the Albanian language is coming to completion and is expecting to publish next year, according to a recent announcement made by the United Bible Societies.

The Se Bashku project, which translated means the “Together” project, is a collaborative venture between the Interconfessional Bible Society of Albania’s (IBSA) and the Eastern Orthodox, Protestant and Roman Catholic Churches to supply its people with God’s Word in their own language. Although the full New Testament is due to be published in 2006, IBSA has already distributed copies of the new translation of the Gospel of John.

At a conference organized in Albania by the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students (IFES), IBSA distributed 200 copies of the new translation of the Gospel of John. According to UBS, the translation was received very enthusiastically, and the Society believes that its links with IFES will open the doors for further distribution of Scriptures to students across the country.

In addition to the 200 copies that were distributed at the conference, prisoners through prison authorities and Christians who work with prisoners have also received the Gospel through free distribution.

When representatives of the British and Foreign Bible Society (BFBS) arrived in Albania in the early nineteenth century, they immediately recognized the need to supply its people with God’s Word in their own language, UBS reported. “The furnishing of the Albanians with a New Testament, at least, in their own language is an object highly worthy of the attention of the BFBS,” the representatives wrote, according to UBS.

Today, as Albania struggles with many social, economic and political challenges, that need is no less acute, it added. This is why the production of a new interconfessional translation of the New Testament, a replacement for older translations that are no longer suitable, has been one of the IBSA's main projects over the last few years.

But while the project is currently producing the New Testament, UBS reports that more will result from this project: IBSA is linking with the Bible Society in Italy to produce 15,000 copies of a diglot Italian-Albanian Gospel of John based on the new translation. This will be distributed to the many Albanians who have moved to Italy in search of employment, and could be the first of several such publications designed for Albanians living outside the country. For the translation community, the project will also yield a Greek-Albanian New Testament dictionary, a guide to learning New Testament Greek and a guide to interconfessional translation work.