Translation work


Various communities have had the Bible in their own language. These communities are Borana, Dholuo, Gikuyu, Kiembu-Kimbeere, Kigiryama, Kikamba, Kimiiru, Logooli, Lubukusu, Lukakamega-Lutirichi, Lunyore,Maasai,Nandi,Oluluhya,Swahili (Mvita and Kiunguja), Somali, Taita, Turkana and Sabaoti. Others communities have managed to have the New Testaments while awaiting the Old Testament and the Deuterocanonical books. They include : Burji, Endo/Marakwet, Igikurua, Kipokomo, Kipsigis, Kisagalla, Kitaveta, Tharaka, Samia, Duruma, Giriyma, Digo and Suba. The following is the translation work in progress:

1.Ongoing Translation Projects

i) Ateso Translation Project

ii)Lusamia Translation Project

iii) Igikuria Translation Project

2. Bible Revision Projects

i) Maasai Bible Revision Project

ii) Ekegusii Bible Revision Project

3) Bibles in Publishing

1. Oluluyia Bible Translation Project

2. Kalenjin Bible Revision

What does it cost to translate?
It costs about Ksh 1, 000/= per verse on average to translate the Bible into one language

Ongoing Translation Projects



To avail an inter-confessional Bible for the Ateso Language.

Statistics indicate the the Iteso population is 338,833 according to 2009 National Population Census. The Iteso are Plain Nilotic community

Teso lady harvesting groundnuts

Teso lady harvesting groundnuts

found in Western Kenya in Busia county and Bungoma county. The Ateso language has the following mutually intelligible related language groups: Turkana, Karamojong’, Toposa, Diding’a, Nyangatom. The Iteso people are mostly peasant farmers who grow groundnuts, cassava, maize millet, sorghum as staple foods and cotton and tobacco as cash crop.

The majority of Iteso people (over 70%) are Christians who follow diverse Christian denominations. The dominant churches are Anglican, Roman Catholic and Pentecostals.

Status of the Project

The project started in 2011 and so far approximately 30% of the Teso translation has been done. The entire New Testament has been drafted and team revised. The revisers have also reviewed five books of the New Testament while the Translation Consultant has checked five books. The drafting of the OT has also started with more than ten books completed.

In 2014 the translators hope to finalize the reviewers checking of the New Testament. The TC is almost meant to check four more books, while the translators will draft 18 OT books and team-revise 3 of them (i.e. Genesis, Exodus and Leviticus). It is expected that the work of translating this bible will be completed within the next five years.



To provide the Samia speaking people of Kenya and Uganda a common-language Bible with DC that is mutually intelligible to the Samia community in both countries.

The Samia are part of the larger Luhya tribe and are found in Western Kenya and south-eastern Uganda. They are composed of several clans

Pst. Agustine Okambo(Ugandan) and Rev. Phillip Egesa(Kenyan) Lusamia Bible Translators

Pst. Agustine Okambo(Ugandan) and Rev. Phillip Egesa(Kenyan) Lusamia Bible Translators

and their original economic activities included fishing, crop farming, and animal farming. Samia speaking people love music which is played in various ceremonies including marriages, funerals, and wrestling. Their musical instruments include: Adungu (a large violin-like wooden instrument); Engrave (a drum covered at one end with a monitor lizard skin); and Erere (flute). Their diet consists of (a) bread made of sorghum / millet / maize flour which is eaten with vegetables, meat or milk.They are composed of several clans. According to the 2009 population and housing census the Kenyan Samia by that time numbered 124,952.

The Church is well entrenched among the Samia and many mainstream churches and the Pentecostals operate in the area. Christian population is approximately 80% of the entire community. However, there are those who practise traditional religions and pockets of Muslim faithful.

Status of the Project
This project was started more than a decade ago by the Bible Society of Uganda and many of the books have already been drafted. The New Testament has already been completed and was launched in August 2, 2011 in (Busia, Ugandan side). The translation of the Old Testament has also been ongoing through the support of Ugandan Bible Society. However, the resultant Bible is not very acceptable on the Kenyan sides because many words/terms used are not easily understood on the Kenyan side or are found to be offensive.

It was with this realization that in 2010 the Kenyan and Ugandan Bible Societies decided to partner and collaborate in order to come up with a translation that is mutually acceptable on both sides of the border. In 2011 the Kenyan reviewers were recruited and trained. In 2012 the Kenyan and Ugandan review teams managed to hold joint review sessions. And in 2013 two Kenyan translators were recruited. These translators will hold join sessions with their Ugandan counterparts (translators and reviewers) and come up with a mutually agreeable text for the Lusamia community in Kenya and Uganda.

It is expected that these joint meetings and sessions will take a maximum of three years and then the Lusamia Bible will be ready for publishing by the year 2016.



To avail a fully inter-confessional Bible (OT and NT) to the Abakuria of Kenya and Tanzania.

The Kuria are a community found in both Kenya and Tanzania. The Abakuria of Tanzania and the Abakuria of Kenya are essentially one people. In Kenya the Kuria reside in the Nyanza province, specifically in the (Nyamira and Kisii) counties, while in Tanzania the Kuria reside in the Tarime, Musoma, Bunda and Serengeti districts of the Mara region of Northern Tanzania.
The Church is well entrenched among the Kuria and the Christian population is approximately 70% of the entire community. However, there are those who practise traditional religions and also pockets of Muslim faithful.

Status of the Project

A revised New Testament was launched in November 1996. Work on the Old Testament has been going on facilitated by the Tanzania Bible Society. However, it has always been felt that the two Bible Societies need to work together so that the end product of the translation can serve the Abakuria of both Kenya and Tanzania. In 2013 Kenya and Tanzania Bible Society signed an agreement that they would work jointly to avail a Bible that is mutually acceptable on both sides of the boarder. Thus the purpose of this proposal is to address the need to continue translating the Bible into Igikuria language spoken in both Kenya and Tanzania. So far 20 books of the Old Tetsament has been drafted by Tanzanian translators.

Bible Revision Projects

1. MAASAI Revised Bible with Deuterocanonical Books


To avail a Revised and Inter-confessional Maasai Bible targeting the Maasai community in the greater Narok and Kajiado districts.


The Maasai are a famous community in East Africa recognized for preserving their unique culture and way of life. Many tourists visit the areas where they live to witness and learn about their culture. The Maasai are proudly pastoralist and many continue with their nomadic pastoralist lifestyle which they have practiced for many generations.

The Maa speaking people are to be found in a very wide territory spreading from northern Kenya and extending as far south as the central areas of Tanzania. Certainly, a language spread this wide and lacking the means for maintenance of linguistic uniformity or standardization must contend itself with dialectal variation, a fact which is necessitating the need to revise the current Maasai Bible which was released in 1992. This translation, which was started mainly through the initiatives of John T. Mpaayei, the then General Secretary of the Bible Society of East Africa, and the local Maasai churches in Kajiado and Narok, was prepared along the lines of ‘union version’ translation. It was intended for use among all Maasai speaking peoples in Kenya and Tanzania. Indeed an attempt was made to involve, at least on the translation review committee, individuals representing the different Maasai dialect areas of Kenya and Tanzania, from the Samburu in the north to the Parakuyo in the South.

Status of the Project
This project was started in 2011 with two translators who managed to revise the New Testament and the Old Testament. The reviewers have also been able to review the whole of the New Testament and the Translation Consultant has been able to check all the books of the New Testament. In 2013, the team embarked on the drafting of the Deuterocanonical books after the recruitment of a Catholic reviser/translator. In 2014, the team hopes to finalize the reviewers checking of the Old Testament and also the drafting and team revision of the Deuterocanonical books. Further it is expected that more than 20 books of the Old Testament will undergo Translation Consultant checking.

On the whole it is expected that we will complete the revision of the |Maasai bible by the end of 2015.

2. EKEGUSII Bible Revision


To revise the 1990 Ekegusii Bible to deal with some wrong renderings; offensive dialectical issues and also add value to the Bible i.e. a concordance; references; bible glossary and come up with a small sized easy-to-carry bible etc. The work will also involve the translation of the Catholic books.

The target audience are the Kisii, also known as Abagusii, which is a community of Bantu speakers who inhabit the two counties of Kisii and Nyamira in Nyanza province. According to the 2009 census the Abagusii number 2.2 million.

The Kisii people are one of the most economically active communities in Kenya. The people grow tea, coffee and bananas. However, the

Kisii Banana plantation

Kisii Banana plantation

population densities in the area are quite high and therefore most portions of land are quite small. These small portions of land are however very fertile. The Kisii people are either medium or highly educated. Also, the school system in the area is fully established and thus the literacy levels are quite high. However, there is need to develop literacy materials in order to encourage community members to interact with the language.

Status of the Project

The Ekegusii community and Christians in that region formally requested BSK to help revise the Ekegusii Bible to remove the minor and major problems that have been noted in terms of language usage in the Bible. Also, they felt that, being an educated community, they will greatly benefit from the value-addition that will be done to that Bible. The Deuterocanonical books when translated will help improve the reading of the Word of God among the Catholic faithful. Also, the development of literacy materials will help enhance the usage of Ekegusii language among the learned and the not-so-learned.

The work was started in June 2013 with the recruitment of three translators, the establishment of an office in Kisii county which was followed by the recruitment of reviewers. Already the team has managed to revise 11% of the Bible and it is expected that in 2014 they will be able to do 20% of the work. It is envisioned that the whole revision and the translation of the DC books will take five years and be completed by 2018.

Value added Bible Project



To avail a Study Bible for the Gikuyu speaking community of Central Kenya, Nairobi and its environs, and the Rift Valley.


The Agikuyu people belong to the Bantu group who live in the administrative province of central Kenya, Central Rift Valley and Nairobi. They are a distinct ethnic group with own language and culture. They are over six million in number, making them the largest single block of tribe in Kenya. Over 80% of this population is literate. Farming for commercial purposes is their main occupation, with coffee and tea being the main cash crops. Livestock farming is also practised. Christianity is the main religion among these people, with over two-thirds of them affiliated to some Church organization in one way or another. This is a result of influence by the Christian Missionaries in the early 20th century.

Thus the target audiences are users of the Gikuyu Bible willing to deepen their biblical knowledge such as pastors, church leaders and theological students. The project is also targetted at the average Bible student.

The project is scheduled to start in 2014 and is awaiting permission from ESV Study Notes copyright owners so that work can start. This notes are meant to be the basis of the translation and adaptation of the Gikuyu Study Bible notes.