become one flesh

The Greek and Hebrew that is often translated into English as “(the two) shall become one flesh” is translated as “become just one” in Copainalá Zoque and San Mateo del Mar Huave or with existing idiomatic equivalents such as “become one blood” in Mitla Zapotec, “become the complement of each other’s spirit” in Tzeltal (source for this and above Bratcher / Nida), “become one body” in Uab Meto (source: P. Middelkoop in The Bible Translator 1952, p. 208ff.), or “tie with wife as one, so that they tie one insides” in Luang (source: Kathy and Mark Taber in Kroneman (2004), p. 539).

In Tataltepec Chatino it is translated as “the two shall accompany each other so that they no longer seem two but are like one person,” in Choapan Zapotec as “when the man and woman live together in front of God, it is as if just one person,” and in Mezquital Otomi as “they aren’t two, it is as though they are one.” (Source: B. Moore / G. Turner in Notes on Translation 1967, p. 1ff.)

See also I am your bone and flesh.

gain your lives

The Greek that is translated as “you will gain your lives (or: souls)” is translated as “you will find real life” in Uab Meto.

virgin

The Greek that is mostly translated as “virgin” in English can be translated as “woman that is untouched” in Batak Toba or “a woman with a whole (i.e. unopened) body” in Uab Meto. In some cases, however, such terms, or descriptive phrases like, “a woman who has not been with a man,” are felt to be too outspoken. Hence, in English versions the rendering has been toned down from “virgin,” via “maiden” (Goodspeed 1923/1935, Rieu 1954), to “girl” (New English Bible 1961/1970), and in Batak Toba from “woman that is untouched” to “girl” (lit. “female child”).

Similar words for “girl,” “unmarried young woman,” suggesting virginity without explicitly stating it, are found in Marathi, Apache, or Kituba. Cultural features naturally influence connotations of possible renderings, for instance, the child marriage customs in some Tboli areas, where the boy and girl are made to sleep together at the initial marriage, but after that do not live together and may not see each other again for years. Hence, the closest attainable equivalent, “female adolescent,” does not imply that a young girl is not living with her husband, and that she never had a child, but leaves uncertain whether she has ever slept with a male person or not. Accordingly, in Luke one has to depend on Luke 1:34 to make clear that Mary and Joseph had not had sexual intercourse. A different problem is encountered in Pampanga, where birhen (an adaptation of Spanish “virgen” — “virgin”), when standing alone, is a name of the “Virgin Mary.” To exclude this meaning the version uses “marriageable birhen,” thus at the same time indicating that Mary was relatively young. (Source: Reiling / Swellengrebel)

In Navajo, the term that is used is “no husband yet” (Source: Wallis, p. 106) and in Gola the expression “trouser girl.” “In the distant past young women who were virgins wore trousers. Those who were not virgins wore dresses. That doesn’t hold true anymore, but the expression is still there in the language.” (Source: Don Slager)

The term in Djimini Senoufo is katogo jo — “village-dance-woman” (women who have been promised but who are still allowed to go to dances with unmarried women). (Source: Übersetzung heute 3/1995)

paradise

The Greek that is transliterated as “paradise” in English is often transliterated in other languages as well. Translations include “Place of well-being” (Toraja-Sa’dan, Tzeltal), “abode of happiness (or: of happy people)” (Marathi), “garden of eternal life” (Uab Meto), or the name of a place where you don’t have to work and fruits drop ripe in your hand (Ekari).

betrothed, engaged

The Greek that is translated as “engaged” or “betrothed” in English is translated in Pampanga as “having-been-given-approval” and Tagalog as “having-been-brought-before-the authorities” (both implying a couple which has already applied to the local civil registrar or priest for a license to marry). Tboli uses “braceleted” (a figurative expression for the giving of property for the dowry, an act that finalizes the marriage contract) and Uab Meto has “publicly pledged to marry (lit. “reciprocally-bound”)” (a term indicating that an interchange of gifts as a pledge for marriage has taken place).

idle talk, nonsense

The Greek that is translated into English as “nonsense” or “idle tale” is translated as “empty talk” (Uab Meto), “wind talk” (Indonesian), “carried-around story” (Ekari), “purposeless talking” (Kele), “words that-frighten without-reason” (Toraja-Sa’dan), or “talk without foundation” (Pohnpeian, Chuukese) (source for all above: Reiling / Swellengrebel), or “telling a fairy tale” (Mairasi) (source: Enggavoter 2004).

their eyes were prevented from recognizing

The Greek that is translated as “their eyes were prevented from recognizing” in English is translated with idioms in languages like Shona with “their eyes were clouded, or, shrouded/blindfolded,” Uab Meto with “their eyes were misty” or with a simile such as “their eyes were just as if they had been caused to be shut” in Marathi.

horn of salvation, mighty savior

The Greek that is translated literally as “horn of salvation” and more idiomatically as “mighty savior” in most English versions is translated along those lines in many languages as well. In Uab Meto, however the term for “horn” is also used metaphorically for “hero” and in Balinese the term for “tusk,” which suggests “champion/hero” (source: Reiling / Swellengrebel).

In Uma, it is translated as “a powerful War chief who brings salvation” and in Una as “a very powerful Person to us who will rescue people” (source: Dick Kroneman).

slow of heart

The Greek that is often translated as “slow of heart” in English is translated as “the heart is hard” in Zarma, “very heavy in heart” in Uab Meto, “blocked-hearted” in Indonesian, “lazy to think” in Tae’, “having a heart that delays” in Shona (translation of 1963), or “failing-heart-people” in Adamawa Fulfulde.

hate

The Greek that is translated as “who hate us” is translated in some languages through the negation of its opposite, such as “who do not love/like us” (Ekari). Other solutions include “who cannot see us in the eye (i.e. who cannot stand us at any price)” (Sranan Tongo) or “the ones with swelling jugular vein (because of suppressed anger)” (Uab Meto).

See also hate.

firstborn

The Greek that is translated as “firstborn” in English is translated “he/she that opens the gown” in Batak Toba (because formerly a woman stopped wearing a gown and started using a bodice after the birth of her first child) and “he/she that damages the stalk (i.e. the body)” in Uab Meto. (Source: Reiling / Swellengrebel)

In Bawm Chin, the term can imply the existence of younger siblings, so a translation is needed that brings out the fact that Jesus is superior to all else, not just the first of a series. (Source: David Clark)

In Mezquital Otomi it is “the oldest son of all” and in Isthmus Zapotec “oldest child.” (Source: Waterhouse / Parrott in Notes on Translation October 1967, p. 1ff.)

See also only begotten son / (one and) only son.