Involvement of Bible Translators in the Development of Tribal Languages in India

Author: Rose Mary (University of Kerala)
Speaker: Rose Mary
Topic: Language revitalization
The (SCOPUS / ISI) SOAS GLOCAL CALA 2019 General Session


The Bible is the most accepted religious book translated into more than 1500 languages of the world. As far as Indian languages are concerned , many have no literary heritage even script for writing representation. Hence, they have been shot down to the position of language shift or convergence to the regional language due to the implementation of the government policy of education.
In this context, many of the Bible translators, who are working with the support of the organizations or individual effort, involved in the translation of the Bible into the tribal languages that are unwritten. Even though their ultimate aim is to propagate the love of God, development of languages and community empowerment have also happened through this translation process. The present study discusses how the translation process helps the nurturing of the tribal languages in India with a special reference to the four tribal languages spoken in the south-central region. The languages are Didayi, Lodhi, Kolami, and Kuvi. In order to fulfill the aim of the Bible translation, literacy programme should have been introduced in the tribal languages to make the community to use the scriptures. The selected languages are luckily having both translation and literacy programs initiated by the missionary groups along with the linguists which would help us to identify the systematic procedures to develop any tribal languages from the brim of shift or total extinction.

Keywords: Bible Translation, Tribal Language Development, Tribal Literacy, Community empowerment