“More Book of Mormon Translations,” Ensign, Jan. 1989, 76
The Church has recently released editions of selections from the Book of Mormon in four additional languages—Shona, Lingala, Urdu, and Gilbertese—bringing to seventy-five the number of languages beyond English in which it is published. Nearly 80 percent of the world’s population speaks at least one of these seventy-five languages.
Shona and Lingala are African languages. Approximately 6,500,000 people in Zimbabwe speak Shona, and 10,700,000 in Zaire speak Lingala. Urdu is spoken in Pakistan by about 45,500,000. Gilbertese is the language of Kiribati (bati is pronounced bas), formerly known as the Gilbert Islands, a country of 62,000. Tarawa, site of one of the bloodiest battles of World War II, is the chief island. Literacy is quite high in each country.
Two more new editions of Book of Mormon selections—in Palauan and Chamorro—are nearing completion. Palauan is the chief language of Palau, a newly independent nation of 14,000 in the Pacific. It is the western most island group of the Caroline Islands. Chamorro is the native language of Guam, and approximately 74,000 people speak it. A territory of the United States, Guam is the largest and southernmost of the Mariana islands.