The Greek that is translated as “interpreted” or “explained” is translated as kulumbununa — “to take-apart-a-pile” in Chokwe. “Kulumba is ‘to stack up in a pile’, ‘to pile up’, and ‘to unstack or take from a pile’ is kulumbununa. But this is the word they use for explaining or expounding a subject, and how expressive it is. One who can expound is one who can take the great unordered pile of any truth and ‘unpile’ it, take it apart piece by piece, laying it out in order so that it can be understood.” (Source: D. B. Long in The Bible Translator 1952, p. 87ff.)
The Greek that is translated as “disqualified” or “castaway” in English is translated as chisashili in Chokwe. This refers to a “basket or the like that has broken down or for some reason unfit for the fulfillment of its original purpose. It is then thrown out, though it may be picked off the rubbish heap to serve some other, though always inferior, end. It is rejected as unfit for the job intended by its owner or maker and lies on the refuse pile in shame.”
(Source: D. B. Long in The Bible Translator 1952, p. 87ff.)
The Greek that is translated as “overseer” or “bishop” is kalayi in Chokwe. “This is the word for a watchman set in time of danger or war, who is responsible for the welfare of all under his care and will be held accountable for his faithfulness or otherwise.” (Source: D. B. Long in The Bible Translator 1952, p. 87ff.)
The Greek that is translated in English as “beat his breast” or similar is translated in Kasem as “clapped his hands.” To beat one’s breast is considered to be a sign of arrogance and pride. To express regret people clap their hands. (Source: Urs Niggli in Holzhausen / Riderer 2010, p. 16)
In Yaweyuha it is expressed more explicitly as “feeling great sorrow, repeatedly beating their chests” (source: Larson 1998, p. 98) and likewise on Chokwe as “beat his breast for sorrow” (“beat one’s breast” is the equivalent of the English “pat oneself on the back”) (source: D. B. Long in The Bible Translator 1952, p. 87ff.).
The Greek that is rendered in English as “conscience” is translated into Aari as “our thoughts speak to us,” in Nuer it is “the knowledge of their heart” (source: Jan Sterk), in Cheke Holo “to know what is straight and what is wrong” (source: Carl Gross), in Chokwe “law of the heart” (source D.B. Long in The Bible Translator 1953, p. 135ff.), and in Toraja-Sa’dan penaa ma’pakilala or “the admonishing within” (source: H. van der Veen in The Bible Translator 1950, p. 21 ff.).
The Greek and Hebrew that is translated as “doubt” in English versions is translated with a term in Tzeltal that means “heart is gone.” (Nida 1952, p. 122)
In other languages it is represented by a variety of idiomatic renderings, and in the majority of instances the concept of duality is present, e.g. “to make his heart two” (Kekchí), “to be with two hearts” (Punu), “to stand two” (Sierra de Juárez Zapotec), “to be two” or “to have two minds” (Navajo), “to think something else” (Tabasco Chontal), “to think two different things” (Shipibo-Conibo), “to have two thoughts” (Yaka and Huallaga Huánuco Quechua), or “two-things-soul” (Yucateco).
In some languages, however, doubt is expressed without reference to the concept of “two” or “otherness,” such as “to have whirling words in one’s heart” (Chol), “his thoughts are not on it” (Baoulé), or “to have a hard heart” (Piro). (Source: Bratcher / Nida, except for Yucateco: Nida 1947, p. 229 and Huallaga Huánuco Quechua: Nida 1952, p. 123)
In Chokwe “kwalajala is ‘to doubt.’ It is the repetitive of kuala, ‘to spread out in order, to lay (as a table), to make (as a bed),’ and is connected with kualula ‘to count.’ [It is therefore like] a person in doubt as one who can’t get a thing in proper order, who lays it out one way but goes back again and again and tries it other ways. It is connected with uncertainty, hesitation, lack of an orderly grasp of the ‘count’ of the subject.” (Source: D. B. Long in The Bible Translator 1952, p. 87ff.)
The Greek that is sometimes translated in English as “busybody” is translated in Chokwe as mukwa moko a jiji or “he with the hands of a fly.” D. B. Long (in The Bible Translator 1952, p. 87ff.) explains: “This seems startling, but then these people have a firsthand knowledge of flies in large numbers, and thoroughly detest them. They say they dabble in everyone’s food and add insult to injury by rubbing their ‘hands’ first in front of them and then behind. So a busybody is always puttering in other people’s affairs and he does not always rub his hands in the same way: part of hit is behind his back, you are never sure that you know what he is doing.”
The phrase that is translated as “the crops white (or: ripe) for harvest” in English is translated in Hiri Motu as “the crops are ripe and big and ready to eat.” The word for “ripe” hints at bananas and the word for “big” hints at sweet potatoes.
In Chokwe the white seed “mystified the reader (…) Ripe harvest-ready grains is ‘red,’ which in this land of few colour distinction is about the equivalent of ‘golden.’ To make send for the passage we felt justification in changing ‘white’ to ‘red.'” (Source: D. B. Long in The Bible Translator 1952, p. 87ff.)
The Greek that is usually translated in English as “imitate” in Chokwe as kwimbulula or “sing over after another.” D. B. Long (in The Bible Translator 1952, p. 87ff.) explains: “To imitate is to sing over something after someone else has given us the tune. Christ has sung His heavenly tune, and we, having learned it, are now to sing it over and over again.”
(To view the different translations of this term in a simplified graphical form on a new page, click or tap here.)
The Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek terms that are often translated as “worship” (also, “kneel down” or “bow down”) are likewise translated in other languages in certain categories, including those based on physical activity, those which incorporate some element of “speaking” or “declaring,” and those which specify some type of mental activity.
Following is a list of (back-) translations (click or tap for details):
- Javanese: “to prostrate oneself before”
- Malay: “to kneel and bow the head”
- Kaqchikel: “to kneel before”
- Loma (Liberia): “to drop oneself beneath God’s foot”
- Tepeuxila Cuicatec: “to wag the tail before God” (using a verb which with an animal subject means “to wag the tail,” but with a human subject)
- Tzotzil: “to join to”
- Kpelle: “to raise up a blessing to God”
- Kekchí: “to praise as your God”
- Cashibo-Cacataibo: “to say one is important”
- San Blas Kuna: “to think of God with the heart”
- Rincón Zapotec: “to have one’s heart go out to God”
- Tabasco Chontal: “to holy-remember” (source of this and all above: Bratcher / Nida)
- Q’anjob’al: “humble oneself before” (source: Newberry and Kittie Cox in The Bible Translator 1950, p. 91ff.)
- Alur: rwo: “complete submission, adoration, consecration” (source: F. G. Lasse in The Bible Translator 1956, p. 22ff.)
- Obolo: itọtọbọ ebum: “expressing reverence and devotion” (source: Enene Enene)
- Ngäbere: “to cut oneself down before” (“This figure of speech comes from the picture of towering mahoganies in the forest which, under the woodman’s ax, quiver, waver, and then in solemn, thunderous crashing bury their lofty heads in the upstretched arms of the surrounding forest. This is the experience of every true worshiper who sees ‘the Lord, high and lifted up.’ Our own unworthiness brings us low. As the Valientes say, ‘we cut ourselves down before’ His presence. Our heads, which have been carried high in self-confidence, sink lower and lower in worship.)
- Tzeltal: “ending oneself before God.” (“Only by coming to the end of oneself can one truly worship. The animist worships his deities in the hope of receiving corresponding benefits, and some pagans in Christendom think that church attendance is a guarantee of success in this life and good luck in the future. But God has never set a price on worship except the price that we must pay, namely, ‘coming to the end of ourselves.'”) (Source of this and the one above: Nida 1952, p. 163)
- Folopa: “dying under God” (“an idiom that roughly back-translates “dying under God” which means lifting up his name and praising him and to acknowledge by everything one does and thanks that God is superior.”) (Source: Anderson / Moore, p. 202)
- Chokwe: kuivayila — “to rub something on” (“When anyone goes into the presence of a king or other superior, according to native law and custom the inferior gets down on the ground, takes a little earth in the fingers of his right hand, rubs it on his own body, and then claps his hands in homage and the greeting of friendship. It is a token of veneration, of homage, of extreme gratitude for some favor received. It is also a recognition of kingship, lordship, and a prostrating of oneself in its presence. Yet it simply is the applicative form of ‘to rub something on oneself’, this form of the verb giving the value of ‘because of.’ Thus in God’s presence as king and Lord we metaphorically rub dirt on ourselves, thus acknowledging Him for what He really is and what He has done for us.”) (Source: D. B. Long in The Bible Translator 1952, p. 87ff.)
In Luang it is translated with different shades of meaning:
- For Mark 15:19 and Matt. 2:8 and 2:11: “uh’idma-rrama llia’ara” — “to kiss the fingernail and lick the heel”
- For Acts 16:14: ra’uli-rawedi — “to praise-talk about”
- For Acts 14:15, 15:20, 17:16, 17:25: hoi-tani — “serve right hand – serve left”
- For Acts 13:16 and 13:26: una-umta’ata — “respect-fear”
- For 2 Thess. 2:4: kola tieru awur nehla — “hold waist – hug neck”
Source: Kathy Taber in Notes on Translation 1/1999, p. 9-16.