Kjell Magne Yri
Born (1943-11-05) 5 November 1943 (age 80)
Hareid, Norway
Alma materMF Norwegian School of Theology
University of Oslo
Known forBible translations
Scientific career
InstitutionsUniversity of Oslo

Kjell Magne Yri (born 5 November 1943) is a Norwegian priest, linguist and translator.

He hails from Hareid. He was interested in linguistics at an early age; during Norwegian classes in secondary school he read books in Greek and Esperanto. During his spare time he read Swahili. He combined the language interest with religious studies after a friend encouraged him to become a bible translator, eventually graduating from the MF Norwegian School of Theology with the cand.theol. degree[1] in 1970.[2] He also minored in Greek at the University of Oslo, as well as studying Latin and Hebrew. He was eventually given an assignment to translate the New Testament for the Norwegian Lutheran Mission, who found the official Norwegian translation too liberal.[1] He was occupied with this translation from 1968 to 1973.[2]

In 1973 he travelled with his family to work as a priest in Ethiopia. He learned both the Amharic and Oromo languages, and was later sent to work in the Sidama Zone. While staying here, he translated the New Testament into Sidamo. It took twelve years, and he was finished in 1988.[1]

In 1989 Yri reached what he describes as a "crossroads" in his life. He left the Norwegian Lutheran Mission, and took up studies again at the University of Oslo. He ultimately took the dr.philos. degree in 1996, and in 2000 he was appointed as an associate professor. From 2002 to 2007 he conducted a large research project on languages in Ethiopia.[1]

His marriage broke down in 1989, but he later remarried, this time to a Chilean linguist. This prompted Yri to learn Spanish, and to attempt to learn Mapudungun.[1] Yri resides in Nittedal, and from 1998 to 2002 he was the local church organist there.[2]

Publications by Yri


  1. ^ a b c d e Toft, Martin (19 February 2009). "Den dansande misjonærlingvisten". Uniforum (in Norwegian). pp. 6–7.
  2. ^ a b c "Kjell Magne Yri 60 år 5. november" (in Norwegian). Norwegian News Agency. 29 October 2003.