The first translation of the Bible into a gypsy language has been published in Hungary in time for Easter. The edition features the text in Hungarian and Lovari, one of the main gypsy dialects. The Old Testament is being published next. Lovari is spoken by around 20,000 Roma people in Hungary - as well as by another 10,000 Roma in Poland, Germany and France. Translator Zoltan Farkas Vesho said he aimed to use a classical form of Lovari, avoiding Hungarian and Polish words especially, that have slipped into modern Lovari. "I wanted to give the text the widest possible currency among Roma in the region," he said. Roma communities often suffer from a chronic lack of education, with high levels of illiteracy, and Zoltan told Hungarian television he hopes that his translation will have an educational value. "Phrases used in the translation of the text can also be found at the back of the book in a dictionary section, through which the gypsy language can be learnt," he said. Most Hungarian Roma are Catholics, and the Catholic Church has been spearheading efforts to raise their level of education. A Roma teacher, Agnes Jovanovics, said the fact that the Bible was now available in Lovari meant a great deal to the Roma community. "It is a different case when people can read it in their own mother tongue, hold it in their hands and see that it is written in our language," she said in the programme.
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