TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – To improve the Cherokee language in it, the Cherokee Nation Translation Department is editing the Cherokee New Testament, which the American Bible Society translated and published in 1860.
“It was published in 1860, and it has been reprinted ever since,” Roy Boney, CN Cherokee Language Program manager, said. “The edition from the American Bible Society had some misspellings and other minor errors in it that many Cherokee speakers have noted over the last 140-plus years.”
Translator specialist Durbin Feeling and his brother, Russell, have been serving as the primary editors with input from the rest of the Translation Department.
“A lot of the things we say in English doesn’t translate the way people think,” Durbin said. “Our language (Cherokee) is very, very descriptive.”
The original edition of the Cherokee New Testament did not have the red lettering, which represent the words spoken by Jesus. Once the project is complete, it will be a corrected edition of the 1860 translation with the words of Christ highlighted in red.
“We’re finding some words that possibly they used back then that we don’t use anymore here,” Durbin said. “We go ahead and use it anyway if it goes with the English translation, if it makes sense. But there are some words that we’ve lost since the 1800s.”
Boney said that in the 1800s several people, including Principal Chief Charles Hicks; Cherokee Phoenix Editor Elias Boudinot; missionary Samuel Worcester and Cherokee Presbyterian minister, politician and Cherokee Phoenix Assistant Editor Stephen Foreman worked on the Cherokee New Testament.
When the current project is complete, which has not been determined, Jeff Edwards of CN Language Technology will create an ePub of the Cherokee New Testament for free distribution. An ePub is a free, open standard for digital books, which will allow the document to be readable in a variety of eBook readers.
Russell said that putting the Cherokee New Testament in eBook format would hopefully generate an interest in younger people to pick up the Bible and read it.
The Cherokee Language Program will also look into printing the Cherokee New Testament in a book format, which will include a foreword from the Translation Department describing the process that went into editing the translation and a history of publication of the Cherokee New Testament since the invention of the syllabary by Sequoyah.
“Future generations could have something that we never had,” Durbin said.
ᏓᎵᏆ, ᎣᎦᎵᎰᎹ – ᎾᏍᎩ ᎪᏢᎯᏌᏅ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎦᏬᏂᎯᏍᏗ ᏕᎪᏪᎸ, ᎾᎿ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏰᎵ ᏗᎾᏁᎶᏗᏍᎩ ᎤᎾᏙᏢᎯ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎣᏍᏓᏂᏓᏅᏁ ᏕᎪᏪᎸ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎢᏤ ᎧᏃᎮᏛ ᏓᏠᎯᏍᏛ, ᎾᏍᎩ ᎠᎹᎵᎦ ᎪᏪᎵ ᏗᎦᎸᏉᏓ ᎤᎾᏙᏢᎯ ᏗᎾᏁᎶᏔᏁ ᎠᎴ ᏚᏂᎴᏴᏔᏁ ᎾᎿ ᏁᎳᏚ ᎢᏍᎪᎯᏧᏈ ᏑᏓᎵᏍᎪ ᏧᏕᏘᏴᏌᏗᏒᎢ.
“ᏚᏂᏁᏴᏔᏁ ᏁᎳᏚ ᎢᏍᎪᎯᏧᏈ ᏑᏓᎵᏍᎪ ᎤᏕᏘᏴᏌᏗᏒ, ᎠᎴ ᎾᎯᏳ ᏂᏓᏂᎴᏴᏗᏍᎪ,” ᎤᏛᏅ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏰᎵ ᎦᏬᏂᎯᏍᏗ ᎤᎾᏙᏢᎯ ᎦᏁᏥᏙᎯ Roy Boney. “ᎯᎠ ᏚᏂᎴᏴᏔᏅ ᏂᏓᏳᏓᎴᏅ ᎠᎹᎵᎦ ᎪᏪᎵ ᏗᎦᎸᏉᏓ ᎤᎾᏙᏢᎯ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎢᎦᏓ ᏗᎦᎵᏓᏍᏔᏅ ᎨᏒ ᎠᎴ ᎤᏍᏗ ᏧᏓᏉᏅᏓ ᎤᏍᏗᏓᏅ ᎾᎿ ᎠᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏂᏬᏂᏍᎩ ᎤᎾᏕᎶᎰᏒ ᎠᎴ ᎤᎾᏅᏛ ᎾᎿ ᏍᎪᎯᏧᏈ ᏅᎩᏍᎪᎯ ᏧᏕᏘᏴᏓ.”
ᎤᏤᏟᏍᏗ ᏗᏁᎶᏗᏍᎩ Durbin Feeling ᎠᎴ ᏗᎾᏓᏅᏟ Russell, ᎾᏍᎩ ᎾᎾᏛᏁᎲ ᎢᎬᏱ ᎤᎾᎴᏅᎲ ᏓᏂᎴᏴᏗᏍᎬ ᎾᎿ ᏓᎾᏛᏛᎲᏍᎬ ᏭᏅᎪᏛᎢ ᏗᎾᏁᏕᏗᏍᎩ ᎤᎾᏙᏢᎯ ᎠᏂᏯᎢ.
“ᎤᎪᏓ ᏧᏓᎴᏅᏓ ᎢᎦᏪᏍᏗ ᏲᏁᎦ Ꮭ ᏱᎦᏴᏁᎶᏓ ᎠᏣᎳᎩ ᏱᏂᎦᏴᎬᎦ ᎾᎿ ᎠᏂᏴᏫ ᎠᎾᏓᏅᏖᏍᎬ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬ Durbin. “ᎢᎦᏤᎵ ᎢᎩᏬᏂᎯᏍᏗ (ᏣᎳᎩ) ᎢᎦᎢ ᎨᏒ ᏄᏍᏛ ᎧᏃᎮᏗ.”
ᏧᏓᎴᏅᎲᎢ ᏚᏂᎴᏴᏔᏅ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎢᏤ ᎧᏢᎮᏓ ᏓᏠᎯᏍᏛ Ꮭ ᏱᏂᏗᎬᎾ ᏗᎩᎦᎩ ᏱᏗᎪᏪᎳ, ᎾᏍᎩ ᎧᏃᎮᏍᎩ ᎾᏍᎩᎾ ᏥᏌ ᎤᏬᏂᏒ. ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᎯᎠ ᎠᎵᏍᏆᏛᎢ, ᎾᏍᎩ ᎣᏍᏓ ᎢᎬᏁᎸᎯ ᎨᏎᏍᏗ ᎾᎿ ᏁᎳᏚ ᎢᏍᎪᎯᏧᏈ ᏑᏓᎵᏍᎪ ᏗᏁᎶᏔᏅ ᏃᏊ ᎤᏁᏨ ᏥᏌ ᏗᎩᎦᎨ ᏗᎪᏪᎳ ᎨᏎᏍᏗ.
“ᏙᏍᏗᏩᏘᏃ ᎢᎦᏓ ᏕᎪᏪᎸ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎾᎯᏳ ᏥᎨᏎ ᏧᏅᏔᏅᎢ ᎾᎿ Ꮭ ᏱᏗᏛᏗᏍᎪᎢ,” ᎠᏍᏍᎬ Durbin. “ᏙᎩᏅᏔᏅᎢ ᎢᏃᏳ ᏱᏓᏙᎵᎦ ᎾᎿ ᏲᏁᏁᎦ ᏕᎪᏪᎸᎢ, ᎣᏍᏓ ᏱᏂᎦᎵᏍᏗᎢ.
ᎠᏎᏃ ᎢᎦᏓ ᏗᎧᏁᎢᏍᏗ ᏕᎩᏲᏎᎳ ᏂᏛᏓᎴᏂᏍᎩ ᏁᎳᏚ ᎢᏍᎪᎯᏧᏈ ᏁᎳᏚᎢᏍᎪᎯᏧᏈ ᎤᏕᏘᏴᏌᏗᏒᎢ.”
Boney ᎠᏗᏍᎬ ᎾᎿ ᏁᎳᏚ ᎢᏍᎪᎯᏧᏈ ᏥᎨᏒ ᎯᎸᏍᎩ ᎠᏂᏴᏫ, ᎠᏠᏯᏍᏗ ᎤᎬᏫᏳᎯ Charles Hicks; ᏣᎳᎩ ᏧᎴᎯᏌᏅ ᏗᎦᎴᏅᏗᏍᎩ Elias Boudinot; ᎠᏥᏅᏏᏓ Samuel Worcester ᎠᎴ ᏣᎳᎩ Presbyterian ᎠᎵᏣᏙᎲᏍᎩ, ᏗᏙᎩᏯᏛ ᎾᏍᏊ ᎠᎴ ᏣᎳᎩ ᏧᎴᎯᏌᏅ ᎠᎵᏍᏕᎵᏍᎩ ᏗᎦᎴᏴᏗᏍᎩ Stephen Foreman ᏂᎦᏓ ᏚᏂᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᎸ ᎾᎿ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎢᏤ ᎧᏃᎮᏓ ᏓᏠᎯᏍᏛ ᎪᏪᎵ.
ᏃᏊᏃ ᎯᎠ ᏣᏃᏢᏍᎦ ᎠᎵᏍᏆᏛ, ᎾᏍᎩ Ꮭ ᎠᏎᏢ ᏱᎩ, Jeff Edwards ᎾᎿ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏰᎵ ᎦᏬᏂᎯᏍᏗ ᏖᎦᎾᎳᏥ ᏛᏃᏢᎾ ePub ᎾᏍᎩ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎢᏤ ᎧᏃᎮᏛ ᏓᏠᎯᏍᏛ ᎾᎿ ᎠᏎᏊ ᏙᏛᏂᏅᎾ. ᎾᎿ ePub ᎾᏍᏊ ᎠᏎᏊᎢ, ᎠᏍᏚᎢᏓ standard ᎾᏍᎩ digital ᏗᎪᏪᎵ, ᎾᏍᎩ ᏯᎵᏍᎪᎸᏓ ᎯᎠ ᏗᎪᏪᎳᏅ ᏗᎪᎵᏰᏗ ᎢᎸᏍᎩ ᎢᏳᏓᎴ ᎾᏍᎩ eBook ᏗᎪᎵᏱᏗᎢ.
Russell ᎠᏗᏍᎬ ᎢᎬᏙᏗ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎢᏤ ᎧᏃᎮᏓ ᏓᏠᎯᏍᏛ ᎾᎿ eBook ᎬᎾᏅᏙᏗ ᎤᏚᎩ ᎬᏗ ᎾᎿ ᎤᎵᏍᎨᏓ ᏯᏂᏱᎸᎾ ᎣᏂ ᏥᏛᎾ ᏧᏂᏢᏍᏗ ᎪᏪᎵ ᏧᎭᎨᏓ ᏧᏂᎪᎵᏱᏗᎢᏅ.
ᏣᎳᎩ ᎦᏬᏂᎯᏍᏗ ᎤᎾᏙᏢᎯ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎠᏂᎪᎵᏱ ᏧᏂᎴᏴᏙᏗ ᎾᎿ ᎢᏤ ᎧᏃᎮᏓ ᏓᏠᎯᏍᏛ ᎾᎿ ᎪᏪᎵ ᏗᎪᏪᎵ, ᎾᏍᎩ ᏯᏠᏯᏍᏗ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎢᎬᏯᏗᏢ ᏥᏕᎪᏪᎶ ᎾᎿ ᏂᏙᏓᏳᏂᎴᏴᏔᏅ ᎨᏒᎢ ᎾᎿ ᎠᎾᏁᎶᏗᏍᎩ ᎤᎾᏓᏡᎬᎢ ᏱᎪᏪᎵ ᎢᏳᏍᏗ ᏄᎾᏛᏁᎸ ᏚᏂᎴᏴᏔᏅ ᏚᎾᏁᎶᏔᏅ ᎠᎴ ᏂᎦᏓ ᏄᎵᏍᏔᏅ ᏕᎦᏃᏣᎸ ᎾᎿ ᏗᏣᎳᎩ ᎢᏤ ᎧᏃᎮᏛ ᏓᏠᎯᏍᏛ ᏂᏛᎬᏩᏓᎴᏅᏓ ᏥᏚᏬᏢᏁ ᏗᎪᏪᎶᏙᏗ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏏᏉᏯ.
“ᏥᏛᎾᎢ ᏚᎾᏛᏏᏗᏒ ᎯᎠ ᏱᏚᏂᎾᎢ ᎠᏯᏃ Ꮭ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏱᎩᎮᎢ,” ᎤᏛᏅ Durbin.