still waters

The Hebrew that is often translated as “still waters” in English is translated as “water at the mouth of a well” in Dan since “the imagery of ‘still water’ is seen as something negative, water that is dirty since it isn’t moving.”

as the LORD lives

The Hebrew and Greek that is often translated as “As the Lord lives, (I swear)” in English is translated in Dan as “I swear before the true living God” to “not to imply that God could die, contrasting with the dead false gods.”

relieve oneself

The Hebrew that is translated as “relieve himself” or similar in English needed to be translated with a euphemism in Dan. The phrase that was used was “he hit the bush.”

go in peace (2Sam. 15:9)

David tells his son Absalom (in English translations) to “go in peace” after his son asks for permission to go to Hebron to complete a vow to God there. Since that was not understandable to the Dan translators, it was translated as “David gave his permission.”

wash feet

David tells Uriah (in English translations) to “go down to his house and wash his feet.” This refers to stay the night, and in particular sleep with his wife (see v. 11). The Chamula Tzotzil translated it as “sweep out your heart,” meaning the same thing as “make yourself at home.”

Dan translators translated it as “to go home and relax.”

making peace

English translations say “Syrians made peace with the Israelites after being defeated by them” — The idiomatic expression used by the Dan translator in this context for making peace is “giving a white chicken.” When people offer a white chicken, they accept defeat. The victorious party is expected to accept the chicken to show that they will not retaliate. It’s important that the chicken be white, not any other color, and that its legs not be tied (showing freedom).

frost

The Hebrew is translated in English translations as manna (that) was “as delicate (thin) as frost.” In Dan they said it was as delicate as hail since they don’t have frost here. However, I cautioned them that hail is not very delicate. So I suggested that they say the manna was as delicate as ashes (bɥ̀ɵ̀). That has worked well in other languages here. The whole sentence in Dan reads: “Kǝ lɛ̀ lúɛ́ ɓɛ é go sɛaɛ, pǝ ɓlɵ́ téé ê bìɓòlɛ̀ kâ gbéèɛ̀ é kǝ̀ nɛɛ bɥ̀ɵ̀ lɵ́ɛ è kǝ̀ sɛa má.”

See also snow (color).

deny oneself

(To view the different translations of this term in a simplified graphical form on a new page, click or tap here.)

The Greek that is translated with “deny himself” or deny oneself” is according to Bratcher / Nida “without doubt one of the most difficult expressions in all of Mark to translate adequately.” These are many of the (back-) translations:

leap

The Greek that is often translated in English as “leap (or: leaped)” is translated with appropriate idioms as “trampled” (Javanese), “shook-itself” (Kituba), “wriggled” (Thai), “danced” (Taroko), “stirred” (Toraja-Sa’dan), “sprawled” (Batak Toba), “played” (Shipibo-Conibo). In Dan the clause has to be “her stomach moved” since “leaping” sounded vulgar. (Source: Reiling / Swellengrebel)

Bill Michell (in Omanson 2001, p. 431) explains why in Cusco Quechua the women on the translation team had to intervene to correct a translation that was too literal:

“In the [Cusco Quechua] project in Peru the first draft of Luke’s Gospel was done by a man. In the case of Luke 1:41 his translation was quite literal. He had the unborn child physically jumping, unhampered and unhindered. This was met with some laughter from the women on the team. They suggested an onomatopoeic expression to communicate the sensation of a sudden movement in the womb: wawaqa ‘wat’ak’ nirqan — ‘the child said, ‘Wat’ak!” The child didn’t jump, it ‘spoke’! This times there were smiles instead of laughter as the women recognized something that was authentically their own.”

praise (God)

The Greek and Hebrew that is translated as “praise (God)” in English is translated in a nuymber of ways:

In Dan a figurative expression for praising God is used: “pushing God’s horse.” “In the distant past people closely followed the horses ridden by chiefs, so ‘pushing’ them.” (Source: Don Slager)