Should The Bible Be Translated Into Emoticons?

November 12, 2014  |  

Although the Bible has been translated into 533 languages, educator Kamran Kastle believes it’s time for the Bible to be translated into a language that we all love and understand, emoticons.

Emoticons have become a topic that transcends the typical digital debate between iPhone versus Android and segues into issues such as diversity. Now with religious context, Kastle claims he will translate the entire Bible into emoticons for a grand fee of $25,000.

He was inspired to translate the Bible into emoticons after a student  told him, she would not read it unless it was on her iPhone. Kastle noted their conversation on his Kickstarter:

After administering a Movie Screening of “Ben-Hur” (1959) a good number of the inner city students sitting before him expressed never having read the Bible. Naturally, he asked “How come”? One 16-year-old girl responded, “If I can’t read it on my IPhone, I don’t read it.” Kamran asked, “If I translated the Bible into Emoticons, would you read it?” With a curious smile upon her face, the teenager said, “Yes!” Thus, the inspiration to translate the oldest book into the newest language – Emoticons – was immaculately conceived.

Kastle also spoke with VICE magazine about the project. A few of the highlights:

VICE: Hey, Kamran. So, to be clear, you are translating the entire Bible, correct?
Kamran Kastle: Yes, both the Old Testament and New Testament.

Have you thought about translating other iconic religious texts as well?
Yes. Some suggested I translate the Koran and Torah next. I imagine one day a lot of classic texts will receive the emoji treatment.

Will you call the Koran version the Emotiqur’an?
Brilliant idea. Emotiqur’an. I love it.

Tell me about the logistics of translating the Bible into emojis. How is this going to work?
It involves reading the Bible… and simply translating it line by line. I read a line and then figure out which emoticons I should use to represent that Biblical verse. I chose not to use standard emojis because there are a limited number of characters. I just invented a lot of my own. I had to. There are too few emojis for Biblical purposes.

Right, I hadn’t seen a Jesus emoji before; just prayer hands.
There isn’t an emoji for the Red Sea parting, either. So I invented it. There isn’t even a Jesus emoji, so I created that one, too. I am not only translating the bible into emoticons, I’m also designing the emoticons myself.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Kastle received $19 towards his KickStarter campaign. He is requesting $25,000 because he plans on creating 5,000 emoticons that the Unicode Consortium doesn’t have and those who donate to his cause will personally receive an emoticon.

Below is a video on the feedback Kastle received from the public on translating the Bible into emoticons. Do you think his translation is necessary?


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