kiss

The Hebrew and the Greek that is usually directly translated as “kiss” in English is translated more indirectly in other languages because kissing is deemed as inappropriate, is not a custom at all, or is not customary in the particular context (see the English translation of J.B. Phillips, 1960 in Rom. 16:16: “Give each other a hearty handshake”). Here are some examples:

  • Pökoot: “greet warmly” (“kissing in public, certainly between men, is absolutely unacceptable in Pökoot.”) (Source: Gerrit van Steenbergen)
  • Chamula Tzotzil, Ixcatlán Mazatec, Tojolabal: “greet each other warmly” or “hug with feeling” (source: Robert Bascom)
  • Afar: “gaba tittal ucuya” (“give hands to each other”) (Afar kiss each other’s hands in greeting) (source: Loren Bliese)
  • Roviana: “welcome one another joyfully”
  • Cheke Holo: “Love each other in the way-joined-together that is holy” (esp. in Rom. 16:16) or “greet with love” (esp. 1Thess. 5:26 and 1Pet. 5.14)
  • Pitjantjatjara: “And when you meet/join up with others of Jesus’ relatives hug and kiss them [footnote], for you are each a relative of the other through Jesus.” Footnote: “This was their custom in that place to hug and kiss one another in happiness. Maybe when we see another relative of Jesus we shake hands and rejoice.” (esp. Rom. 16:16) (source for this and two above: Carl Gross)
  • Balanta-Kentohe and Mandinka: “touch cheek” or “cheek-touching” (“sumbu” in Malinka)
  • Mende: “embrace” (“greet one another with the kiss of love”: “greet one another and embrace one another to show that you love one another”) (source for this and two above: Rob Koops)
  • Gen: “embrace affectionately” (source: John Ellington)
  • Kachin: “holy and pure customary greetings” (source: Gam Seng Shae)
  • Kahua: “smell” (source: David Clark) (also in Ekari and Kekchí, source: Reiling / Swellengrebel)
  • Nyanja: “to suck” (“habit and term a novelty amongst the young and more or less westernized people, the traditional term for greeting a friend after a long absence being, ‘to clap in the hands and laugh happily'”)
  • Medumba: “suck the cheek” (“a novelty, the traditional term being ‘to embrace.'”)
  • Shona (version of 1966): “to hug”
  • Balinese: “to caress” (source for this and three above: Reiling / Swellengrebel)

flattery

The term that is rendered as “flattery” in English is translated with a Kahua idiom: “We did not bend our heads to please people (i.e., use flattery).”

Dorcas (Δορκάς)

In both Fuyug and Kahua “Δορκάς” (Dorcas) was translated rather than transliterated. It came out as “nanny goat,” which was quite acceptable as people can have animal names, and goats are not regarded with disfavor.

minding one's own affairs

The phrase that is translated as “mind your own affairs” is translated in Kahua with an idiom: “don’t interfere with your noses.”

dual vs. plural (Acts 7:16)

In this episode in Acts it is ambiguous whether only Jacob and Joseph or Jacob and all of the other patriarchs were were taken back to Shechem. In languages that distinguish between a dual and a plural this ambiguity has to be resolved. In the translation into Kahua only two bodies were taken back because Joseph’s body is specifically mentioned in Exod 13:19 and Josh 24:32.

enticed

The word that is translated in English as “enticed” is translated in Kahua as “put out bait” (as for an animal).

angel's voice vs. God's voice

In the translation into Kahua, it needs to be specified whose voice is mentioned in Acts 10:13 and 15. Many commentaries assume it is God’s voice but it could also be the angel as in verse 3, since God is referred to in the third person in verse 15. The translators decided for God’s voice.

implanted, in one's heart

For the phrase that is translated as “implanted (word)” or “(word that he plants) in your hearts” in English versions, Kahua uses a term for belly/chest as the seat of the emotions. (Source: David Clark)

In Owa it is translated as “planted in your soul” (=hearts). (Source: Carl Gross)

See also heart, soul, mind.

exalted

The Greek that is translated as “exalted him” in English is translated in Kahua as “made his name sound big.”

with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind

The phrase that is translated as “with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind” in English versions is rendered in Kahua with a term for belly/chest as the seat of the emotions.

The same phrase is translated into Kuy as “with all your heart-liver”to show the totality of one’s being. (Source: David Clark)

Similar to that, in Laka one must love with the liver, in Western Kanjobal with the “abdomen,” and in Marshallese with the throat.

What is translated as “soul” in English is translated as “life” in Yaka, Chuukese, and in Ixcatlán Mazatec, “that which stands inside of one” in Navajo, and “spirit” in Kele.

The Greek that is translated in English as “strength” is translated in Yao as “animation” and in Chuukese as “ability.”

The Greek that is translated in English as “mind” is translated in Kele as “thinking,” in Chuukese as “thought(s),” and in Marathi as “intelligence.”

The whole phrase is translated in Tboli as “cause it to start from the very beginning of your stomach your loving God, for he is your place of holding.”

In Poqomchi’ (as in many other Mayan languages), the term “heart” covers both “heart” and “mind.”

(Sources: Bratcher / Nida, Reiling / Swellengrebel, and Bob Bascom [Ixcatlán Mazatec and Poqomchi’])

See also implanted / in one’s heart and see Seat of the Mind for traditional views of “ways of knowing, thinking, and feeling.”

sporting analogies

In the Kahua translation sporting analogies are avoided because they imply that winning involves putting other people down.

centerpost

The parallelism between “rock” in 1Pet 2:5 (in the English New Revised Standard Version “like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house”) and verse 8 (in the English New Revised Standard Version “a stone that makes them stumble, and a rock that makes them fall”) had to be maintained in the Kahua translation. As “posts” are used in house building (see cornerstone) the parallelism was kept with terms for “tree” and “centerpost.”

See also cornerstone.