For the Greek that is translated with an equivalent of “It is finished (or: completed)” in most English Bible translations a perfect tense is used that has no direct equivalent in English. It expresses that an event has happened at a specific point in the past but that that event has ongoing results. The English “Expanded Translation” by Kenneth S. Wuest (publ. 1961) attempted to recreate that by translating “It has been finished and stands complete.”
Irish uses yet a different system of tenses, resulting in these translations:
- Atá sé ar na chríochnughadh (Bedell An Biobla Naomhtha, publ. early 17th century): “It is upon its completion”
- Tá críoch curtha air (Ó Cuinn Tiomna Nua, publ. 1970): “Completion is put on it”
- Tá sé curtha i gcrích (An Bíobla Naofa, publ. 1981): “It is put in completion”
Source for the Irish: Kevin Scannell
In Ojitlán Chinantec it is translated as “My work is finished,” in Aguaruna as “It is completely accomplished,” and in Mezquital Otomi as “Now all is finished which I was commanded to do.” (Source for this and above: M. Larson / B. Moore in Notes on Translation February 1970, p. 1-125.)
The Greek that is translated as “the life was the light of all people” or similar in English is translated in Huehuetla Tepehua as “that one who gives life, he is the one who gives understanding to the minds of men,” in Ojitlán Chinantec as “he teaches people the right and straight way according to truth, as if to say, he illumines them,” in Tzotzil (San Andres) as “The one that causes people to live, he is like light. This one who is like light…,” and in Xicotepec De Juárez Totonac as “and he showed people what is truth. And thus he was as it were a light to the people.” (Source: M. Larson / B. Moore in Notes on Translation February 1970, p. 1-125.)
The Greek that is translated as “if my words abide in you” or similar in English is translated in Yatzachi Zapotec as “if you think about my words all the time,” in Xicotepec De Juárez Totonac as “if you do not forget my word,” in Huehuetla Tepehua as “if you believe my words in your heart,” and in Ojitlán Chinantec as “if you obey my words.” (Source: John Beekman in Notes on Translation 12, November 1964, p. 1ff.)
The Greek that is transliterated “Levites” in English (only the Contemporary English Version translates it as “temple helpers”) is translated in Ojitlán Chinantec as “temple caretakers,” Yatzachi Zapotec as “people born in the family line of Levi, people whose responsibility it was to do the work in the important church of the Israelites,” in Alekano as “servants in the sacrifice house from Jerusalem place,” and in Tenango Otomi as “helpers of priests.” (Source: M. Larson / B. Moore in Notes on Translation February 1970, p. 1-125.)
The Greek that is translated as “figures of speech” or similar in English is translated in Ojitlán Chinantec as “telling words a little bit covered,” in Tenango Otomi as “comparisons,” in Navajo: “stories that teach,” and in Mezquital Otomi as “like a story” (source: M. Larson / B. Moore in Notes on Translation February 1970, p. 1-125.).
See also parable and image.
The Hebrew and the Greek that are translated in English versions as “prophesy” are translated into Anuak as “sing a song” (source: Loren Bliese), into Balanta-Kentohe as “passing on message of God” (source: Rob Koops), and into Ixcatlán Mazatec with a term that does not only refer to the future, but is “speak on behalf of God” (source: Robert Bascom).
Other translations include: “God making someone to show something in advance” (Ojitlán Chinantec), “God causing someone to think and then say it” (Aguaruna), “speaking God’s thoughts” (Shipibo-Conibo), “God made someone say something” “Xicotepec De Juárez Totonac) (source for this and above: M. Larson / B. Moore in Notes on Translation February 1970, p. 1-125), “proclaim God’s message” (Teutila Cuicatec), “speak for God” (Chichimeca-Jonaz), “preach the Word of God” (Lalana Chinantec), “speak God’s words” (Tepeuxila Cuicatec), “that which God’s Spirit will cause them to say they will say” (Mayo) (source for this and four above: Viola Waterhouse in Notes on Translation August 1966, p. 86ff.), and “say what God wants people to hear” (tell people God wod dat e gii oona fa say) (Gullah) (source: Robert Bascom).
In Luang it is translated with different shades of meaning:
- For Acts 3:18, 3:21, 3:25: nurwowohora — “mouth says words that don’t come from one’s own mind.” (“This term refers to an individual’s speaking words that are not his because either a good or bad spirit is at work through him. The speaker is not in control of himself.”)
- For Acts 19:6, Acts 21:9: nakotnohora — “talk about.” (“The focus of this term is on telling God’s message for the present as opposed to the future.”)
- For Acts 21:11: rora — “foretell” (“The focus of this term is giving God’s message concerning the future. The person who speaks is aware of what he is doing and he is using his own mind, yet it is with God’s power that he foretells the future.”)
Source: Kathy Taber in Notes on Translation 1/1999, p. 9-16.
See also prophet and prophesy / prophetic frenzy.
The Greek that is tramslated in English as “My hour has not yet come” or similar is translated in Huehuetla Tepehua as “The moment hasn’t come when I can do anything,” in Ojitlán Chinantec as “It has not yet arrived, the time of my showing myself,” in Xicotepec De Juárez Totonac as “It is not yet time for my task to begin, and in Yatzachi Zapotec as “My hour has yet to come for me to help people.” (Source: M. Larson / B. Moore in Notes on Translation February 1970, p. 1-125.)
The Greek that is translated as “weapon” in English is translated as “machete” in Ojitlán Chinantec (source: M. Larson / B. Moore in Notes on Translation February 1970, p. 1-125.).
The phrase that is translated into English as “you stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears” is translated into Afar as “You dry stones that nothing enters, and people who have hearts that refuse God, and ears closed saying we didn’t hear God’s message.” (stiff-necked > dry stones, uncircumcised in heart > hearts that refuse God, uncircumcised ears > ears closed to hearing God’s message) (Source: Loren Bliese)
Other translations for “uncircumcised in heart and ears” include:
- Rincón Zapotec: “it doesn’t enter your hearts or your ears. You are like those who don’t even believe”
- Eastern Highland Otomi: “hard are your hearts and not a little bit open are your ears”
- Morelos Nahuatl: “you have your heart as unbelievers, you do not want to hear God’s word”
- Highland Popoluca: “you never wanted to do God’s will, never truly believed”
- Teutila Cuicatec: “you are just the same as those who do not believe God’s word because you do not obey”
- Huichol: “you have not been marked with God’s sign in your hearts or in your ears (you are unruly and unsubmissive like an untamed, unbranded bronco)”
- Ojitlán Chinantec: “you do not have the word-sign in your hearts. Your ears are clogged”
- Copainalá Zoque: “you just don’t understand”
- Isthmus Mixe: “your hearts and minds are not open” (source for this and above: Viola Waterhouse in Notes on Translation August 1966, p. 86ff.)
- Kaqchikel: “with your hearts unprepared” (Source: Nida 1964, p. 220)
The Greek that is translated as “I find no crime in him” or similar in English is translated as “Not a single fault do I find in this man” in Ojitlán Chinantec, “I don’t find any sin in this man” in Huehuetla Tepehua, “It is not known to me even a little bit of bad which he has done” in Aguaruna, “I think this man has no sin” in Chol, and “It is not apparent that this man is guilty” in Yatzachi Zapotec.
(Source: M. Larson / B. Moore in Notes on Translation February 1970, p. 1-125.)
The Ghari translation uses different terms for “fishing”: with nets when fishing for fish and with a line when fishing for men. (Source: David Clark)
The translation for “fishing” (when referring to catching fish) in Ojitlán Chinantec is “catching water animals” and in Aguaruna “killing fish.” (Source: M. Larson / B. Moore in Notes on Translation February 1970, p. 1-125.)
Click or tap here to see a short video clip showing the different kinds of fishing with a net in biblical times (source: Bible Lands 2012)
See also cast a net.