The Hebrew and Greek that is translated as “Sabbath” in English is rendered as “day we rest” in Tzotzil, in Mairasi as “Jew’s Rest Day,” in Quiotepec Chinantec as “day when people of Israel rested,” in Shilluk as “day of God,” in Obolo as Usen Mbuban or “Holy Day,” and in Mandarin Chinese as ānxírì (安息日) or “rest day” (literally: “peace – rest – day”).

(Sources: Tzotzil: Marion Cowan in Notes on Translation with Drill, p. 169ff; Mairasi: Enggavoter 2004; Quiotepec Chinantec: B. Moore / G. Turner in Notes on Translation 1967, p. 1ff.; Shilluk: Nida 1964, p. 237; Obolo: Enene Enene; CHhinese: Jost Zetzsche)

In the old Khmer version as well as in the first new translation this term was rendered as “day of rest” (Thngai Chhup Somrak / ​ថ្ងៃ​ឈប់​សំរាក). Considered inadequate to convey its religious meaning (not only about cessation of work, but also in honor of Yahweh as the Creator), the committee for the Today’s Khmer Version (publ. 2005) decided to keep the Hebrew word and use its transliterated form Thgnai Sabath (​ថ្ងៃ​សប្ប័ទ). “The Buddhist word Thngai Seil ‘day of merits’ used by some Catholics was once under consideration but was rejected because it did not receive unanimous support.” (Source: Joseph Hong in The Bible Translator 1996, p. 233ff.)

In Spanish, the translation is either día de reposo (“day of rest”) or sábado (usually: “Saturday,” derived from the Greek and Hebrew original. Nida (1947, p. 239f.) explains that problem for Spanish and other languages in its sphere of influence: “In translation ‘Sabbath’ into various aboriginal languages of Latin America, a considerable number of translators have used the Spanish sábado, ‘Saturday,’ because it is derived from the Hebrew sabbath and seems to correspond to English usage as well. The difficulty is that sábado means only ‘Saturday’ for most people. There is no religious significance about this word as the is with ‘Sabbath’ in English. Accordingly the [readers] cannot understand the significance of the persecution of Jesus because he worked on ‘Saturday.’ It has been found quite advantageous to use the translation ‘day of rest,’ for this accurately translated the Hebrew meaning of the term and resolves the problem in connection with the prohibitions placed upon some types of activities.”

complete verse (Mark 12:27)

Following are a number of back-translations of Mark 12:27:

  • Uma: “So, from those words of God, we clearly know that Abraham, Ishak and Yakub were alive. For it is not people who are dead who worship God, it is people who live who worship him. How wrong that thinking of yours is.'” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “God is God of the living not God of the dead. (That means that even though Ibrahim and Isahak and Yakub have died long-ago, they live there in heaven because they still worship God.) You are really mistaken/at-fault in your thinking.'” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “which is to say, they were still worshipping God for the one who worships him, even if he dies, he still has life. That’s why you are very much mistaken.” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “What this means to say is that the dead live again, because God, he is not the God of dead people but rather the living. Therefore it is true that you are thoroughly mistaken.'” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “Of course he is not the God of people who are dead but on the contrary, alive. Therein it’s clear that Abraham and company (i.e. Isaac and Jacob) are alive again even though they had already died. Your understanding really is very wrong.'” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)
  • Mezquital Otomi: “Because God says he is the God of those three men who have died, we all know that they still live and worship him. …”
  • Tzotzil: “Well then, I say to you, even though the forefathers of Moses are dead people, God spoke about them as if they were living people. Therefore you should know they are still living because God spoke thus. …”
  • Ocotlán Zapotec: “If God is God of Jacob, Isaac, and Abraham, he is God of those who are alive, even though they have died. …”
  • Quiotepec Chinantec: “God is the God of the living. He is also the God of the dead because they are not dead to Him, they also are living.”
  • Ocotlán Zapotec: “If God is God of Jacob, Isaac, and Abraham, he is God of those who are alive, even though they have died.” (Source for this and four above: B. Moore / G. Turner in Notes on Translation 1967, p. 1ff.)