Why Cantonese or Yue?
In this experiment, I would pick a language or dialect that is still in its infancy and use it to translate the Bible. I would also document the translation process. Chinese (written vernacular Chinese, or baihauwen) and English are both mature, not in infancy. I would not choose either for my purpose.
Yue, or Cantonese, is my mother tongue. I am fluent in Cantonese, Putonghua and English only. I only read Chinese and English. So, if you ask me why I would choose Cantonese, I would say, “It is the only choice!”
Why is Cantonese, which originated thousands of years ago, said to be in its “infancy”? Let us put aside the history of Cantonese for now. It is undeniable that the number of Cantonese literary works is far less than that of classical Chinese or written Mandarin. The way to write Cantonese words and phrases is not entirely standardised. Just from this perspective, the Cantonese writing system can be fairly said to be “in its infancy”.
粵語白話文，或簡稱「粵文」，用於翻譯聖經，已有百多年的歷史；第一本以方塊字粵語翻譯聖經的單行本，早於1862年在羊城 (即廣州) 出版。不過，無可否認，以粵語翻譯聖經，至今仍有廣闊的發展空間。所以，我覺得粵文正好配合我的實驗。
The history of translating the Bible into Yue baihauwen or Cantonese baihauwen, or “written Yue”, is over a hundred years. The first volume of the Bible in Yue in Chinese characters was published in Canton (Guangzhou) in 1862. However, it is undeniable that there is still much room for improvement in translating the Bible into Yue. In my view, thus, Yue is a perfect fit for my experiment.
Yue is commonly known as Cantonese. The variety spoken in Canton (Guangzhou) is taken as the standard. The Yue baihauwen refers to the writing system adopting the vocabulary and grammar of Yue. The Vernacular Language Movement at the fall of the Qing Empire and the dawn of the republic promoted the replacement of classical Chinese with written vernacular Chinese. The most commonly used vernacular is, of course, Mandarin, but there were also literary works in the late Qing that used Yue baihauwen, Wu baihauwen, Zhongzhou rhyme baihauwen, and so on as the main text.