The Greek that is translated as “(small) rudder” in English is translated in Yatzachi Zapotec as “(a small) stick,” in Mezquital Otomi as “a (little) metal,” in Rincón Zapotec as “(little) wooden hand” (source: Ellis Deibler in Notes on Translation July, 1967, p. 5ff.), in Eastern Highland Otomi as “thing that is in the water that steers the boat,” in Teutila Cuicatec as “paddle that steered the ship” (source: Viola Waterhouse in Notes on Translation August 1966, p. 86ff.), and in Tetelcingo Nahuatl as “board to steer” (source: Ronald D. Olson in Notes on Translation January, 1968, p. 15ff.).
The Greek that is translated as “tent of testimony” or similar in English is translated as “a leather house which they could pack up again, where they remembered God” in Lalana Chinantec, as “cloth house where they worshipped God” in Eastern Highland Otomi, as “cloth house where God spoke to the people” in Chichimeca-Jonaz, as “house of God where they kept the stones on which were written the commandments of God” in Morelos Nahuatl, as “small holy house which was of the skins of animals, in it were the stones which contained the ten commandments” in San Mateo del Mar Huave, and “inside this church the slates on which God’s law was written were kept” Teutila Cuicatec. (Source: Viola Waterhouse in Notes on Translation August 1966, p. 86ff.)
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.), “weights, and thus they were able to make the boat stand” in Xicotepec De Juárez Totonac (source: Larson 1998, p. 99), “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.), “a thing that makes the water vehicle stand still” in Kamwe (source: Roger Mohrlang in here), “the metal piece that was in the water that detained the boat” in Eastern Highland Otomi (source: Viola Waterhouse in Notes on Translation August 1966, p. 86ff.), 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.”
Click or tap here to see a short video clip showing an anchor in biblical times (source: Bible Lands 2012)
The Greek that is often translated as “proselyte” in English is translated in various ways:
- Isthmus Mixe: “those that entered the mind of the Israelites”
- Desano: “people who are of the same religion as the Jews”
- San Mateo del Mar Huave: “people who were not Jews but have come to believe as the Jewish people believe”
- Isthmus Mixe: “those who entered the mind of the Israelites”
- Mayo: “those who live according to Jewish custom”
- Teutila Cuicatec: “people from other nations who believe the same as those of the nation of Israel”
- Chuj: “those who have received the religion of the Israel people”
- Morelos Nahuatl: “those who entered the religion of the Jews”
- Lalana Chinantec: “those who worship God as the Israel people do”
- Chichimeca-Jonaz: “those who joined with the Jews because they went to believing like them”
- Falam Chin: “those who entered/joined the Jews’ religious party from other tribes” (source for this and above: Viola Waterhouse in Notes on Translation August 1966, p. 86ff.)
The Greek that is translated in English as “gave them authority over the unclean spirits” or similar is translated in Teutila Cuicatec as “gave them the work that they should take out evil spirits.” In Teutila Cuicatec, “authority” is never spoken of as being “given”.Rather it is considered to be the automatic possession of one who has been given a “work” by a recognized authority. (Source: B. Moore / G. Turner in Notes on Translation 1967, p. 1ff.)
The Greek that is translated as “resurrection” in English is translated in Chicahuaxtla Triqui and Pohnpeian as “live-up” (i.e. return to life) (source: Reiling / Swellengrebel) and in Iloko as panagungar: a term that stems “from the word ‘agungar,’ an agricultural term used to describe the coming back to life of a plant which was wilting but which has been watered by the farmer, or of a bulb which was apparently dead but grows again.” (Source: G. Henry Waterman in The Bible Translator 1960, p. 24ff.)
In Estado de México Otomi, it is translated as “people will be raised from the dead,” in Teutila Cuicatec as “the dead having to come to life again,” in San Mateo del Mar Huave as “arose from the grave” (source: Viola Waterhouse in Notes on Translation August 1966, p. 86ff.), and in Kriol as gidap laibala brom dedbala or “get up alive from the dead” (source: Sam Freney in this article.)
The Greek that is translated as “does not dwell in houses made with hands” in English is translated in does not dwell in Palantla Chinantec as “it isn’t as though men are capable of building a house where he will live,” in Tenango Otomi as “doesn’t reside in churches made by people,” in Lalana Chinantec as “it isn’t a house that people made where God lives. He lives up in heaven,” in Morelos Nahuatl as “does not really live in churches that we made with our hands,” and in Teutila Cuicatec as “it is not necessary for God….to live inside churches that people build.” (Source: Viola Waterhouse in Notes on Translation August 1966, p. 86ff.)
The Greek that is translated in English as “examined the scriptures” or similar is translated in Isthmus Mixe as “hunted in the written Word of God” and in Teutila Cuicatec as “looked at the paper on which was written down the Word of God.” (Source: Viola Waterhouse in Notes on Translation August 1966, p. 86ff.)
The Greek that is translated “receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” or similar in English is translated as “receive the gift of God which is the Holy Spirit” in Eastern Highland Otomi, “God will give his Spirit to you” in Chuj, “God will cause his Holy Spirit to possess you” in Teutila Cuicatec, “the Holy Spirit will come into your souls with his power” in Desano, “you will receive the Holy Spirit, Father God will give you that” in San Mateo del Mar Huave, and “God will send the Holy Spirit to live with you” Mezquital Otomi. (Source for this and above: Viola Waterhouse in Notes on Translation August 1966, p. 86ff.)
See also Receive the Holy Spirit.
The Greek that is translated as “Are we to go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread, and give it to them to eat?” is translated in Teutila Cuicatec as “Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread for them to eat? A man would have to work more than half a year to earn that much money!” to clarify the meaning of the two hundred denarii in a manner which will not be distorted by any fluctuations in the value of the local currency and in Balangingi as “Are we to go and buy ten thousand buns to feed them?” because in this case, a day’s wages couldn’t be used as a standard of comparison because in this culture people don’t work for wages. (Source: B. Moore / G. Turner in Notes on Translation 1967, p. 1ff.)
The Greek and Hebrew that is typically translated as “(to the) right hand of” is often translated much more descriptively in other languages. In Yakan it is translated as “at the right side, here in the greatest/most important/most honored place/seat,” in Mezquital Otomi as “the right hand, at the place of honor,” in Chuj as “exalted at the right hand,” in Chichimeca-Jonaz as “in a high place there at the right,” in Lalana Chinantec as “make great,” in Isthmus Mixe as “given great authority,” in Morelos Nahuatl as “placed big” or “heart-strengthens me,” in Isthmus Mixe as “stays with me,” (source: Viola Waterhouse in Notes on Translation August, 1966, p. 86ff), and in Teutila Cuicatec as “in all authority at the right side” (source: Ronald D. Olson in Notes on Translation January, 1968, p. 15ff.).
In Lamnso’, the seat on the right-hand side signifies that the person seated there would have a higher position than the one to his left (vs. just being a seat of honor). To circumvent any misunderstanding of the biblical text, the translation here refers to the “highest seat next to God.” (Source: Karl Grebe in Holzhausen 1991, p. 52)