catch, fish for

The Greek that means “catch (or: capture) alive” is usually translated as “catch (people)” of “fish (for people)” in English which implies the fact that the captured or caught are still alive.

The Syriac Aramaic (Classical Syriac) Peshitta translation, however, makes the meaning of “catch alive” more explicit by translating ṣāeḏ ləẖayye (ܨܳܐܶܕ݂ ܠܚܰܝܶܐ) or “catch alive.” Following that translation, other translations that are based on the Peshitta, including the Classical Armenian Bible (vorsayts’es i keans [որսայցես ի կեանս] or “catch for life”), the Afrikaans PWL translation (publ. 2016) (mense vang tot verlossing or ” catch [people] to salvation”), the Dutch translation by Egbert Nierop (publ. 2020) (vangen tot redding or “catch to save”) or various English translations (see here ) explicitly highlight the “alive” as well. (Source: Ivan Borshchevsky)

Some languages have to find strategies on how to deal with the metaphor of “catching.” “In some cases the metaphor can be rendered rather literally, cp. ‘seeking for men’ (Kekchí, where ‘to seek fish’ is the idiomatic rendering of ‘to catch fish’). In several other languages, however, more radical adjustments are necessary, such as making explicit the underlying simile, ‘you will catch men as if you were catching fish’ (Inupiaq); or a shift to a non-metaphorical rendering, sacrificing the play-on-words, e.g. ‘you will be a bringer of men’ (Northern Grebo). In some cases the durative aspect of the construction is best expressed by n occupational term, e.g. ‘youwill be one-whose-trade-is catching men’ (Tae’ and Toraja-Sa’dan).” (Source: Reiling / Swellengrebel)

Other translations include:

  • Uma: “teach people to become my followers” (source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “fetch people to follow me” (source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “look for people so that they might be my disciples” (source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “persuade people” (source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “as-it-were catch/hunt/fish-for” (source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)

leprosy, leprous

The Greek and Hebrew terms that are often translated as “leprosy (or: defiling/skin disease)” or “leprous (person)” in English is translated in Mairasi as “the bad sickness,” since “leprosy is very common in the Mairasi area” (source: Enggavoter 2004).

Following are various other translations:

  • Shilluk: “disease of animals”
  • San Mateo Del Mar Huave: “devil sore” (this and the above are indigenous expressions)
  • Inupiaq: “decaying sores”
  • Kaqchikel: “skin-rotting disease” (source for this and three above: Eugene Nida in The Bible Translator 1960, p. 34f. )
  • Noongar: “bad skin disease” (source: Warda-Kwabba Luke-Ang)
  • Tzotzil “rotting sickness” (source: Ronald D. Olson in Notes on Translation January, 1968, p. 15ff.)
  • Usila Chinantec “sickness like mal de pinta” (a skin disease involving discoloration by loss of pigment) (source: B. Moore / G. Turner in Notes on Translation 1967, p. 1ff.)

See also stricken and leprosy healed.

Learn more on Bible Odyssey: Leprosy (Word Study) and leprosy .


“Sheep are known throughout most of the world, even though, as in Central Africa, they are a far cry from the fleecy wool-producing animals of colder climates. Where such animals are known, even by seemingly strange names, e.g. ‘cotton deer’ (Yucateco) or ‘woolly goat’ (Inupiaq), such names should be used. In some instances, one may wish to borrow a name and use a classifier, e.g. ‘an animal called sheep’. In still other instances translators have used ‘animal which produces wool’, for though people are not acquainted with the animals they are familiar with wool.” (Source: Bratcher / Nida)

In Dëne Súline, it is usually translated as “an evil little caribou.” To avoid the negative connotation, a loan word from the neighboring South Slavey was used. (Source: NCAM, p. 70)

Note that the often-alleged Inuktitut translation of “sheep” with “seal” is an urban myth (source Nida 1947, p. 136).

See also lamb.