Zotung Chin Bible

  • Location: Myanmar
  • Target Completion Date: 2035

A very distinct ethnic people, the Zo Mingphuin originated from a Tibeto-Burman group and remain familiar with all other Chin groups, despite developing their own unique written language, unintelligible to the other groups. For many years though, no written language existed for Zo Mingphuin, which made it difficult to obtain historical records of its people. However, the ancient stories and traditional songs passed down from as early as 1300 reveal valuable details such as locations and time periods that tell the history of this people group. Although its people have called themselves Zo Mingphuin from their early days, others have come to refer to them by the name "Zotung" since the time of the British rule of Myanmar. The year 1931 marks the first use of the Roman alphabet to record the written language of the Zotung, and public schools teach Zotung today. The Zotung people number around 40,000, with 75% professing Christianity, although only an estimated 42% claim to be evangelical. Bibles International has printed both a primer and a first storybook in Zotung.

BI completed its work with the Zotung on their New Testament translation in 2012. At the New Testament's dedication on July 29, all the copies from the first printing quickly found their way into the hands of the enthusiastic believers. Happy with their new translation, but not content with only the New Testament, the Zotung made it known that they desired a complete Bible in their language. The Zotung translator San Boi stated, "We understand that the New Testament alone is not complete. We realized that we must have both the New Testament and Old Testament in the Zotung language."

Although another organization had produced a complete Bible in their language in 2016, the conservative Zotung churches found the translation unreliable and raised this concern in a request for a better translation. The Zotung Bible Translation Committee sent a letter in 2015 requesting that Bibles International Myanmar Society adopt their Old Testament translation project. In their January 2017 recommendation letter that BI adopt the project, BIMS wrote, "It is found that the Zotung Bible translation committee and the translators have a great burden for their people to have a trustworthy Bible." With their evaluation of the current translation confirmed by BI, a new concern arose that the Zotung believers might not continue to use the BI-produced Zotung New Testament due to the difficulty of carrying the complete Bible in another language or another translation of the Old Testament in addition to the Zotung New Testament.

After considering the strong arguments for the completion of the Old Testament in Zotung, BI adopted the project in 2018. San Boi remains the chief translator, along with Tua Ting Lian as the assistant translator. In contrast to the New Testament project, where non-Zotung speakers made up the local administration, the Old Testament project boasts an entirely Zotung local administration. They will be publishing their first Old Testament Scripture portion, Jonah, as an app.

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