Children’s Bible with an unlikely translator

Posted On 30 Apr 2012
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An Albanian Children’s Bible which was given a grand launch in Tirana last month has an unlikely translator: a former Minister of Justice.

Photo (ALB10DJ-2): Ilir Panda signs copies of his translation of the Read and Learn Bible for two delighted children at last month’s launch.


Ilir Panda, who served as Albania’s Justice Minister from 1999-2000 and was Vice Chairman of the High Council of Justice from 2003-2007, undertook the translation in his leisure time.

Originally produced by the American Bible Society and publisher Scholastic, the Read and Learn Bible is a paraphrased edition of more than 100 stories from the Old and New Testaments in full colour, designed and written for children from four to seven years old.

Altin Hysi, the General Secretary of the Interconfessional Bible Society of Albania, said that Mr Panda had contacted him and Board member Toni Gogu when the translation was almost complete, to ask whether the Bible Society would be interested in publishing it.

“We agreed!” added Mr Hysi. “And the launch on December 15 was a complete success!”

Children’s champion

The 100 or so guests at the event, held at the Sheraton Tirana Hotel, included friends of both Mr Panda and of the Bible Society, many of them with no direct connection to a local church. An anonymous gift of €1000 (US$1,300) helped to offset the cost of the launch. The five-star Tirana International Hotel is where the Bible Society also launched its translation of the Interconfessional New Testament in 2007.

Mr Hysi said that the former Justice Minister was a Christian fluent in English and a great champion of children’s education.

The Bible, which had a print run of 1,500 copies, is being sold through bookshops and a number are being given away free.

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