complete verse (John 6:51)

Following are a number of back-translations of John 6:51:

  • Tenango Otomi: “I am the food which came from heaven even though I am a person. He who eats this food will live forever. The food I give is my body. I give my body so that the people who live here on earth will have the new life.”
  • Lalana Chinantec: “I am the food which is alive which came down from heaven. The heart of the person who eats this food will be alive forever. There is food which I will give, because I want the hearts of the people of the world to be alive. I’m talking about my flesh and blood.’ That’s what Jesus said.”

(Source: M. Larson / B. Moore in Notes on Translation February 1970, p. 1-125.)

complete verse (John 1:12)

Following are a number of back-translations of John 1:12:

  • Alekano: “He showed the way to the ones who loved him so that they could become God’s people. He did that to the ones who believed concerning him.”
  • Lalana Chinantec: “But there were some who did accept him, who believed on him. They are the ones who were given authority to become the sons of God.”
  • Tenango Otomi: “But all those who looked favorably upon him and believed that he is the savior were given permission to become the children of God.”

(Source: M. Larson / B. Moore in Notes on Translation February 1970, p. 1-125.)

complete verse (John 6:55)

Following are a number of back-translations of John 6:55:

  • Aguaruna: “My body is like true food and my blood is like true drink.”
  • Xicotepec De Juárez Totonac: “My body is the good food and my blood is the good drink.”
  • Tenango Otomi: “Because my body truly takes the place of food for the people. And my blood takes away the thirst of the people.”
  • Lalana Chinantec: “For truly my flesh and blood give strength.”

(Source: M. Larson / B. Moore in Notes on Translation February 1970, p. 1-125.)

anchor

The Greek that is translated into English as “anchor” in English is, due to non-existing nautical language, rendered as kayo’ barko (“an instrument that keeps the boat from drifting”) in Chol (source: Steven 1979, p. 76), “iron hooks” (“that make the boat stop”) in Isthmus Mixe, “irons called ‘anchors’ with ropes” in Teutila Cuicatec (source for this and above: Ronald D. Olson in Notes on Translation January, 1968, p. 15ff.), “an iron attached to a rope attached to the boat so that it may not drift away” in Lalana Chinantec (source: John Beekman in Notes on Translation, March 1965, p. 2ff.), and “big canoe stopping metal” in Kouya.

Eddie Arthur tells the story of the translation into Kouya: “A slightly more prosaic example comes from Paul’s sea voyages in the Book of Acts. In Acts 27, when Paul’s ship was facing a huge storm, there are several references to throwing out the anchor to save the ship. Now the Kouya live in a tropical rain-forest and have no vessels larger than dug-out canoes used for fishing on rivers. The idea of an anchor was entirely foreign to them. However, it was relatively easy to devise a descriptive term along the lines of ‘boat stopping metal’ that captured the essential nature of the concept. This was fine when we were translating the word anchor in its literal sense. However, in Hebrews 6:19 we read that hope is an anchor for our souls. It would clearly make no sense to use ‘boat stopping metal’ at this point as the concept would simply not have any meaning. So in this verse we said that faith was like the foundation which keeps a house secure. One group working in the Sahel region of West Africa spoke of faith being like a tent peg which keeps a tent firm against the wind. I hope you can see the way in which these two translations capture the essence of the image in the Hebrews verse while being more appropriate to the culture.

See also ship / boat, rudder, and anchor (figurative).

seamless

The Greek that is translated as “seamless” in many English translation is translated in Aguaruna as “not sewn when they made it,” in Chol as “not stitched,” in Navajo as “woven in one piece from the top down,” and in Lalana Chinantec as “no joint in it at all.”

(Source: M. Larson / B. Moore in Notes on Translation February 1970, p. 1-125.)

gave up his spirit

The Greek that is often translated as “he gave up his spirit” in English is translated in a variety of ways:

  • Huehuetla Tepehua: “And then he died”
  • Aguaruna: “His breath went out”
  • Navajo: “He gave back his spirit”
  • Inupiaq: “He breathed his last”
  • Chol: “He caused his spirit to leave him”
  • Lalana Chinantec: “He sent away his life breath” (source for this and above: M. Larson / B. Moore in Notes on Translation February 1970, p. 1-125.)
  • Kankanaey: “He entrusted his spirit to God”
  • Tagbanwa: “released his spirit” (lit. caused it to spring away)
  • Uma: “His spirit/breath broke”
  • Yakan: “His breath snapped”

has not overcome it

The Greek that is translated as “has not overcome it” in English is translated in Lalana Chinantec as “was not able to extinguish the light, no matter how dark it was where the rays were shining.” (Source: M. Larson / B. Moore in Notes on Translation February 1970, p. 1-125.)

Receive the Holy Spirit

The Greek that is translated in English as “Receive the Holy Spirit” is translated as “The Good Spirit, let it be yours” in Aguaruna, “Now receive from me the Holy Spirit” in Xicotepec De Juárez Totonac, “May the Holy Spirit come upon you” in Navajo, “Now you are accompanied by the Holy Spirit” in Tenango Otomi or “May the Holy Spirit enter into your hearts” in Lalana Chinantec.

(Source: M. Larson / B. Moore in Notes on Translation February 1970, p. 1-125.)

complete verse (John 8:36)

Following are a number of back-translations of John 8:36:

  • Ojitlán Chinantec: “Therefore if the Son of God liberates you, you will be truly liberated.”
  • Huehuetla Tepehua: “I am the Son of my Father. If I free you from your servanthood, you truly won’t be servants.”
  • Xicotepec De Juárez Totonac: “You are like bought ones and the Son of God is able to free you and thus you will be able to rule yourselves.”
  • Yatzachi Zapotec: “And if the Son of God cause you to get out from under the foot of evil so you are no longer like slaves, then truly you will get out from under its foot.”
  • Lalana Chinantec: “So if the Son will save you, you will really be saved.”
  • Central Tarahumara: “. . . If I shall help you so that you no longer have to do wrong, then you truly shall no longer be ruled as if you were a servant of the devil.”

(Source: M. Larson / B. Moore in Notes on Translation February 1970, p. 1-125.)

to testify to the light

The Greek that is translated as “to testify to the light” or similar in English is translated in Lalana Chinantec as “in order to tell people that the light of God had become visible.” (Source: M. Larson / B. Moore in Notes on Translation February 1970, p. 1-125.)

complete verse (John 1:33)

Following are a number of back-translations of John 1:33:

  • Yatzachi Zapotec: “I wouldn’t have realized who he was, but God, the person who sent me to baptize said to me, ‘You will see my Spirit come down where the person is who will cause my Spirit to be in your hearts to rule you.'”
  • Huehuetla Tepehua: ” . . . ‘You will see the Holy Spirit who will come down from heaven. The Holy Spirit will come to rest on a man. He is the one who will send the Holy Spirit to people, as if to say, he will baptize with the Holy Spirit instead of water.'”
  • Lalana Chinantec: “I didn’t know who he was at first, but the one who sent me said to me: ‘You are going to see the Great Spirit descend on a person. The Great Spirit will remain on him. He is the one who will cause my Great Spirit to enter into people’s hearts. That’s how he will baptize people.’ That’s what he told me.”
  • Tenango Otomi: “I still did not know who was the Christ. But when I was sent to baptize with water, God told me, ‘That man you see that the Holy Spirit comes upon, he is that one who will cause the people to be empowered by the Holy Spirit.'”

(Source: M. Larson / B. Moore in Notes on Translation February 1970, p. 1-125.)

complete verse (John 12:28)

Following are a number of back-translations of John 12:28:

  • Huehuetla Tepehua: “Rather I will say, ‘Let people say that you are great.’ And when Jesus said this, that is when a word came from heaven which said. . . “
  • Yatzachi Zapotec: “Then he prayed, ‘Father, cause yourself to receive more honor.’ Then God who is in heaven spoke, saying to him, ‘I have caused myself to receive honor, and I will cause myself to receive more honor.'”
  • Lalana Chinantec: “‘My Father, do what is necessary so that people will worship you.’ That’s what Jesus said. So God spoke from heaven. He said, ‘I have done what is necessary so that people will worship me. I will also do it again,’ he said.”

(Source: M. Larson / B. Moore in Notes on Translation February 1970, p. 1-125.)