Taglish version of New Testament available online

While we Filipinos are proud of the richness of our own language Tagalog, in daily conversations, we don’t often solely use Tagalog as we tend to mix it with English words. So to help more young Catholics in the Philippines get in touch with the teachings of the Bible, a Pinoy version of the New Testament, which uses a combination of Tagalog and English (Taglish), was released in 2018.

And today, it is now available from the Makati-based online bookstore St. Pauls Online.

The Pinoy version uses Taglish to be more relevant to its audience

According to the bookstore, this version of the New Testament combines the two languages Filipinos often use together in everyday conversation – English and Tagalog – to be more relevant and interesting to the audience, especially to the younger generation.

Taglish New Testament - St Pauls OnlineImage credit: St Pauls Online

“Sa bersiyon na ito, ginamitan ng Taglish o pinagsamang Tagalog at English ang mga berso. Bukod pa riyan, ginamitan din ng mga napapanahong salita para mas maging relevant at interesting sa audience at lalong lalo na sa mga kabataan para mas maintindihan nila ang salita ng Diyos,” the caption of their promotional post reads. 

(In this version, Taglish, or a combination of Tagalog and English, was used in the verses. In addition to that, timely words were also used to be more relevant and interesting to the audience, especially to the youths, so they can further understand the word of God.)

Examples of Taglish Biblical phrases

Taglish New Testament - Pinoy Version
Image credit: @leyna_v 

Philippine Bible Society published this translated book, completed in December 2017, through the efforts of different local church groups. It’s also affordable, selling at only P145 (~USD2.98) at St. Pauls Online. Examples of the text from this version read:

“After ilang minutes, may nakapansin ulit kay Peter at sinabi sa kanya, ‘Isa ka sa mga kasamahan nila.’ Pero sumagot si Peter, “Hindi po ako ‘yun, sir!” After one hour, may lalaking nag-insist, “Sure ako, kasama ni Jesus ang taong ito, kasi taga-Galilea din sya.” (Luke 22:58-59)

(King James Version: And after a little while another saw him, and said, Thou art also of them. And Peter said, Man, I am not. And about the space of one hour after another confidently affirmed, saying, Of a truth this fellow also was with him: for he is a Galilean.)

Taglish New Testament - Pinoy Version
Image credit: @piinsesa 

“Sobrang na-shock ako sa inyo. Ang dali n’yo namang tinalikuran ang Diyos. Imagine, sobrang bait n’ya at pinadala n’ya si Christ sa atin. Ang Diyos mismo ang pumili sa inyo, tapos ngayon, ine-entertain n’yo ang ibang Gospel?” (Galatians 1:6)

(King James Version: I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.

Some netizens appreciate the Taglish Bible

Taglish New Testament - Pinoy Version
Image credit: St Pauls Online

For Facebook user Gabriel Mercardo Corpuz, this translation brought him back to devotional life as it helped him comprehend the Bible better compared to other versions. He also advised that we shouldn’t just rely on one translation, sharing, Naappreciate ko tong version na to. Binalik ako nito sa devotional life ko …. Let’s accept the fact na hindi lahat kaya intindihin yung ibang version ng bible, at isa ako dun.” 

(I appreciate this version. This brought me back to my devotional life…. Let’s accept the fact that not everyone can understand other versions of the Bible.)

Taglish New Testament - Pinoy Version
Image credit: St Pauls Online

For Keeper Cayanan, this Pinoy version’s accessibility will help persuade youths to read the Bible. He also added that from his experience, the way young people talk in their group Bible sharing sessions is similar to the language of this version.

Taglish New Testament - Bible study
Image credit: Saint Rita of Cascia Catholic Parish

However, others are not keen on the use of Taglish

While there are Filipino Bible readers who are appreciative of this new version, others find that the translation to Taglish might compromise the text, and cause it to not be taken seriously.

Taglish New Testament - Pinoy Version
Image credit: St Pauls Online

“Translations can be done to make the Scriptures more understandable. These are dynamic translations. However, very liberal word choices can lead to the text not being taken seriously. The Filipino translation should be conversational without resorting to slang,” Michael Macaraig said. 

Migel Dela Vega worries that the Taglish New Testament might sacrifice the “richness and contextual meaning” of the original scriptures. Language, he added, is important, but translating its text to modern language or everyday speech is “not a good idea.”

Taglish New Testament - Pinoy Version
Image credit: St Pauls Online

Mark Dadulla provided some context to the discussion, saying that initial controversies in Bible translations are not new. He recalled that the late 4th century Latin Vulgate (common Latin version) of the Bible had been controversial in its time for its informal form of the Latin language.

Taglish New Testament - Pinoy Version
Image credit: St Pauls Online

Bishop Pabillo explains that the Pinoy version responds to current language use

Bishop Broderick Pabillo, when addressing the initial debates that sparked when this version of the New Testament was first released in 2018, wrote in a CBCP News article that the translation was in response to the current language most Filipinos use these days.

Taglish New Testament - Pinoy Version
Image credit: @leycaballero_

“Pinoy version is a translation of the New Testament in the language that many people in the Metro Manila and many other Tagalog urban centers use in day-to-day conversation, especially among the educated young people. It is a translation in heterogeneous language, which in common parlance is referred to as Taglish,” the bishop wrote. 

“We cannot say the Pinoy version is disrespectful of the word of God as we cannot say that our Taglish is disrespectful,” he added. 

Taglish translation of a biblical text

Translating a biblical text according to a more conversational language is indeed a matter of debate, as people are right to discuss the effects of creating a layman-friendly version of the historical and sacred book.

But from a practical point of view, this Pinoy version of the New Testament can hopefully be a more accessible option for many religious Filipinos who wish to be closer to their religion. 

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Cover image adapted from: @leyna_v, St Pauls Online

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