The work on the Recovery Version began in 1974 in English and continues to this day in many other languages worldwide. (In a later issue of this newsletter, we hope to offer a brief history of the English Holy Bible Recovery Version.) At the time of this writing, the New Testament Recovery Version has been completed in eighteen languages, and nine more are in the process of completing it. The Old Testament Recovery Version has also been completed in nine languages, and five more are in progress:
Published in the 1980s: English (first edition), Chinese
Published in the 1990s: English (revised edition), Russian, Spanish, Japanese, Tagalog, Cebuano
Published in the 2000s: Thai, Indonesian (footnotes only), Malaysian, Korean, French, Portuguese, Burmese
Published in the 2010s: German, Armenian, Polish, Vietnamese
In progress: Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, Mizo, Kannada, Marathi, Arabic, Hindi, Sinhala
Published in the 2000s: English, Chinese
Published in the 2010s: Spanish, Japanese, Russian, Cebuano, Burmese
Published in the 2020s: Malaysian, Korean
In progress: French, Portuguese, German, Tagalog, Thai
Generally, the work on a New Testament Recovery Version takes about five years to complete and requires a team of at least four full-time serving ones, some of whom need to know New Testament Greek well enough to translate the text into their native language. The work on an Old Testament Recovery Version takes much longer due to the greater number of verses to be translated. The time required for an Old Testament project varies considerably from language to language. In the description that follows, we will refer to the New Testament to describe how the work on a Recovery Version is done. But for the most part, the way the work is done is the same for the two testaments. Of course, the Biblical languages differ and the times needed for the various stages vary from testament to testament.
In almost all the languages above, the translation of the verses was done directly from the Greek text with careful attention to the translation decisions embodied in the English New Testament Recovery Version. Thus, the translation of the verses in a Recovery Version into languages other than English involves the interplay of the Greek text, the English Recovery Version, and the major Bible translations of the target languages, which we genuinely respect if they are accurate. As much as possible, the Recovery Version offers the same meaning to its readers in every language, though language differences sometime require the teams to provide alternate renderings. These are all acceptable and part of the necessary flexibility in translation, and Brother Lee availed himself of this flexibility in the English and Chinese New Testament Recovery Versions. The translation of the footnotes, of course, adheres closely to the English footnotes (and in some languages, to the Chinese footnotes), and translation is more straightforward since there are no original Greek text and other Bible versions to factor into the footnote translation process. The occasional language comments in the footnotes, offering other renderings or explaining words or phrases in the text, may differ from the English Recovery Version, based on the translation of the verses into the target language. Throughout the labor on a Recovery Version, LSM is available to help with questions about the original language, to offer linguistic guidance in translation, and to approve departures from the English Recovery Version. When the translation is completed and before typesetting begins, LSM serving ones meet with the translation team and check the translation in hundreds of critical spots throughout the Recovery Version. During this check many improvements and corrections are made through this blended service. Once LSM deems that the work done is indeed a faithful Recovery Version translation, typesetting begins, and LSM is available to help set up or even fully carry out this very complicated task. Usually a New Testament Recovery Version has over 1,400 carefully designed pages of coordinating verses, footnotes, and marginal cross references, and the typesetting of each page is not trivial. Typesetting a New Testament Recovery Version generally takes a few months to complete properly. LSM also helps with the proofreading and printing of the Recovery Version based on the situation in the publication work in the target language. Proofreading generally is done by volunteers, who receive careful instruction in the tasks that need to be done. Typically the proofreading of a New Testament Recovery Version takes about six weeks and requires about sixty to seventy-five volunteers, who give anywhere from two to six weeks of their time to the Lord for this purpose. As many past volunteers can testify, these proofreading projects are glorious and full of the Lord’s presence, enjoyment, and nourishment. In this matter, the Lord never muzzles the ox while it is treading out the grain. After the proofreading, the print production stage usually takes about five to six months, and then the printed Recovery Versions are delivered to the saints. And as we all know, when the Recovery Version gets into the hands of the saints and of the Lord’s lovers and seekers everywhere in a language, a big blessing follows—a blessing of truth, life, growth, and the building up of the church as the Body of Christ. Hallelujah!
We cannot conclude this report without calling special attention to an upcoming proofreading project in India, January 3 through February 5, 2022. We are praying that the Lord will provide the volunteers and serving ones to carry out the proofreading in four languages simultaneously: Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, and Mizo. Initial typesetting in these four languages is about two-thirds done, and the translation teams are close to submitting the rest of their work. We expect typesetting to be completed by the end of the year, just in time for the proofreading project. We beg the saints to pray for the teams, the volunteers, and the whole work.
Brothers and sisters, we are so thankful to the Lord for all His grace over the past forty-seven years to the hundreds of serving saints worldwide who have labored on the Recovery Version in now twenty-seven languages. By His grace they have learned the Biblical languages, they have translated the Bible text, the outlines, and the footnotes, they have typeset and proofread the Recovery Version in their language, and most importantly they have prayed the whole time for the Lord’s help and blessing. We believe that the Lord has heard and answered, that He Himself has entered into their work with them, and that His Word will accomplish what He delights in and will prosper in the matter to which He has sent it. May He continue to do so until He returns. Pray for this!