Right when you thought the only versions of the Bible that have yet to be translated were deep in India or lost tribes in South America, Norway drops the first Norwegian translation of the Bible in 30 years!
But that’s not the end of the story, that’s just the beginning.
This latest Norwegian translation has topped the country’s book charts almost every week since its publication in October, selling almost 80,000 copies — moving far beyond anyone’s expectations.
Its launch in the autumn saw Harry Potter-style overnight queues, with bookshops selling out on the first day as Norwegians rushed to get their hands on the new edition.
“We only printed 25,000 to start with and thought it would last six to nine months, but it was launched mid-October and by the end of the year it had sold 79,000 copies – it’s just incredible,” said Stine Smemo Strachan, who worked on the project for the Norwegian Bible Society. “It has only been knocked off the number one spot once, by [literary author] Karl Ove Knausgård … There were people sleeping outside the day before the launch because it was embargoed – it’s a bit ironic seeing that the content has been available for quite some time now.”
Not too bad, considering Norway’s population is about 4.9 million people.
The translations process wasn’t exactly how you would expect it, either:
Thirty consultant translators, priests and academics translated the Greek and Hebrew original into Norwegian for the new edition, with a team of 12 literary authors including Knausgård and playwright Jon Fosse then smoothing out that text. “Obviously it was very important to get the right translation but they also wanted it to be readable, to make sure it was good literary language,” said Smemo Strachan. “None of these authors are religious – they are all just very good literary writers who thought it would be an interesting project to be involved in.”
What do you think about this?
Can this still be an accurate translation being translated by non-religious literary’s?
Considering this translation had more to do with translating older Norwegian into modern Norwegian, I think it’s great.
I hope these 80,000 copies are read and taken to heart.