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DECEMBER 31, 2021

Seventy-Five Years of The Watchtower in Thai

“Have Faith in Jehovah and Work Diligently, and You Will Find a Translator”

Seventy-Five Years of The Watchtower in Thai

January 1, 2022, marks 75 years since the first Thai edition of The Watchtower was produced.

The good news reached Thailand in 1931. In the early days of the preaching work, brothers placed thousands of pieces of literature in Chinese, English, and Japanese. At that time, only the booklet Protection had been translated into Thai.

The three foreign pioneer brothers serving in the country realized that to reach the hearts of the people, they needed more literature in the Thai language. Brother Willi Unglaube wrote to Brother Rutherford and asked for help. Brother Rutherford replied: “Have faith in Jehovah and work diligently, and you will find a translator.”

In December 1939, Brothers Kurt Gruber and Willi Unglaube were preaching in northern Thailand. Chomchai Inthaphan, headmistress of the Presbyterian Girls’ School in Chiang Mai, came across an English copy of a publication the brothers had distributed. Chomchai, who was fluent in English and Thai, realized that she had found the truth.

Chomchai Inthaphan

Chomchai soon resigned from both the school and her church, despite opposition and a lucrative offer from the school, and was baptized as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Her first translation assignment was the Salvation book. Chomchai later became one of the first members of the Bethel family in Bangkok, where she served for many years as the only translator in Thai. Eventually, several local women accepted the truth and qualified to help with the translation work.

When World War II broke out, the Thai translation efforts stalled, but resumed quickly once the war ended. The January 1947 issue of The Watchtower was translated into Thai, and then 200 copies were reproduced using a mimeograph machine in the missionary home. This method of printing continued until 1952, when the circulation reached 500 copies each month. The brothers then began using a commercial firm to print the magazines. In September 1993, the Japan branch began printing the Thai Watchtower and Awake! magazines for distribution worldwide.

Members of the Thai and Thai Sign Language translation and production teams

Today, some 80 brothers and sisters—both at the Thailand branch office and the two remote translation offices—assist with the translation work. Along with Thai, The Watchtower is translated into Akha, Lahu, Laotian, and Thai Sign Language.

The over 5,000 publishers in the Thailand branch territory give thanks to Jehovah for having The Watchtower translated in their language.—Proverbs 10:22.