leopard

The Greek, Aramaic and Hebrew that is translated as “leopard” in English was translated in the 1900 Kalaallisut (Greenlandic) translation (a newer version was published in 2000) as milakulâĸ or “one with small spots.” “Milakulâĸ (modern milakulaaq), is derived from the base milak ‘spot, freckle’ followed by a nominalizing suffix with a diminutive sense. This choice provides readers with a vivid description of the animal in question, which would allow them to visualize its appearance even though it is not a feature of the local environment.’” (Source: Lily Kahn & Riitta-Liisa Valijärvi in The Bible Translator 2019, p. 125ff.)

In passages where speed is in the focus (such as Habakkuk 1:8, the Kalanga translation uses “cheetah.” (Source: project-specific notes in Paratext)

See also a leopard (cannot) change his spots.

camel

The Hebrew, Latin and Greek that is translated in English as “camel” is translated in Muna as “water buffalo.” René van den Berg explains: “Camels are unknown; the biggest known animal is the water buffalo (though now rare on Muna).”

In Bislama is is translated as buluk: “cow” / “bull” (source: Ross McKerras) and in Bahnar as aseh lăk-đa which is a combination of the Vietnamese loan word for “camel” (lăk-đa) and the Bahnar term for “horse” (aseh) to communicate that the camel is a beast of burden (source: Pham Xuan Tin in The Bible Translator 1952, p. 20ff. ).

In the 1900 Kalaallisut (Greenlandic) translation (a newer version was published in 2000) it was as ĸatigagtôĸ or “big-backed ones.” “Katigagtôĸ (modern qatigattooq), which has the literal meaning of ‘something with a big back.’ It comprises the noun ĸatigak (modern qatigak) ‘back’ combined with the suffix –tôĸ (modern –tooq) ‘something possessing a big X.’” (Source: Lily Kahn & Riitta-Liisa Valijärvi in The Bible Translator 2019, p. 125ff.)

In Luke 18:25, Mark 10:25, and Matthew 19:24 some versions of the Peshitta translation in Syriac Aramaic (Classical Syriac) show an ambiguity between the very similar words for “camel” and “rope.” Some translations of the Peshitta, therefore, use the “rope” interpretation, including the Classical Armenian Bible (մալխոյ for “rope”), the English translation by George Lamsa (publ. 1933) (It is easier for a rope to go through the eye of a needle), or the Dutch translation by Egbert Nierop (publ. 2020) (het voor een kabel eenvoudiger is het oog van een naald binnen te gaan).

In the above-mentioned three verses, it is translated in Noongar as “kangaroo” (source: Warda-Kwabba Luke-Ang).

serpent

The Greek that is translated as “serpent” in English is translated in Uab Meto as koko, a semi-mythical animal.

Pieter Middelkoop (in The Bible Translator 1956, p. 130ff. ) explains: “In various translations [the Hebrew term] nachash is rendered by ‘serpent’, but the difficulty is that in Uab Meto there is no general word for serpent. Curiously enough they use a general word, kauna, including all kinds of insects, iguana, lizards and serpents. But the python is never called kauna: it has its own name in Uab Meto, i.e. liuksain. But Atoni people [the groups that speaks Uab Meto] never mention its name because it is taboo and so circumscribe it as, Uis meto, ‘Lord of the dry land.’ And whereas lizards, etc. are also called kauna, the crocodile is excepted, never being called kauna. Its name, besimnasi, is also taboo and therefore it is indicated by the title, Uis Oe, that means ‘Lord of the water.’

“Each kind of serpent is indicated by its own name, preceded by the word kauna, so, for instance, kauna umeke is a kind of serpent, the principal food of which are mice, and therefore it is also called kaunifo, ’mice serpent’; and kaun usau, a kind of poisonous viper. Consequently it is impossible to render serpent’ in Uab Meto with kauna because it covers too wide an area of very different species. (…)

“Now in Timor there is a kind of semi-mythical animal, i.e. koko. There are three kinds of koko:

  1. koko manu with legs and wings, a kind of flying lizard;
  2. koko poli (koko belu), a kind of springing reptile using its tail to spring;
  3. koko kauna, a very big kind; some old Atonis told me that it is nearly as big as a python, but different in hue. However, the explanations concerning its size differ rather much, but anyhow the koko is a mythical figure in the stories, that can speak and converse with man.

“(…) One cannot say that it is only a mythical figure, because the Atonis say that their ancestors have seen it and had intercourse with it. Nowadays, when one asks if anybody has seen it, the general reply is in the negative. As an exception, one may meet someone who says that he has.

“It is quite clear that the koko in the belief of the Atonis is of the same species as the nachash in the Scripture.”

In the 1900 Kalaallisut (Greenlandic) translation (a newer version was published in 2000) it was trmnslated as pulateriârssuk or “bade earthworm.” “The translation employs a descriptive Greenlandic word, pulateriârssuk (modern pulateriaarsuk) ‘snake,’ which is based on the noun pulateriaĸ (modern pulateriaq) ‘earthworm’ (itself derived from the verb pulavoĸ [modern pulavoq] ‘creep, crawl’) combined with the suffix –arssuk (modern –arsuk), meaning ‘bad,’ that is, ‘bad earthworm.’ This term would have easily created a frame of reference for the target audience irrespective of whether they were familiar with snakes.” (Source: Lily Kahn & Riitta-Liisa Valijärvi in The Bible Translator 2019, p. 125ff.)

See also birds or four-footed animals or reptiles, serpent, and snake.

jackal

The Hebrew that is translated as “jackal” in English was translated in the 1900 Kalaallisut (Greenlandic) translation (a newer version was published in 2000) as qimmit nujuartat or “wild dogs.” (Source: Lily Kahn & Riitta-Liisa Valijärvi in The Bible Translator 2019, p. 125ff.)

ostrich

The Hebrew that is translated as “ostrich” in English was translated in the 1900 Kalaallisut (Greenlandic) translation (a newer version was published in 2000) as ĸatigagtûssatdlo or “back-like ones.” “The Greenlandic translation of the term for ‘ostriches’ is a descriptive term based on the noun ĸatigak (modern qatigak) ‘back,’ followed by the participial suffix –toĸ (modern –toq), and then the suffix –usaĸ (modern –usaq) ‘something resembling,’ the entire word meaning ‘some- thing resembling something that has a back.’” (Source: Lily Kahn & Riitta-Liisa Valijärvi in The Bible Translator 2019, p. 125ff.)

ivory

The Hebrew and Greek that is translated as “ivory” in English was translated in the 1900 Kalaallisut (Greenlandic) translation (a newer version was published in 2000) as tûgânigdlo or “(narwhal) tusks.” “The word tûgâĸ (modern tuugaaq) ‘tusk’ does not refer specifically to the tusk of an elephant; rather, it is most closely associated with the noun tûgâlik (modern tuugaalik) ‘narwhal,’ which literally means ‘tusked one.’ The narwhal (Monodon monoceros ) is a medium-sized whale with a single long tusk, and is native to the Arctic region, including Greenland. The use of the word tûgâĸ (modern tuugaaq) as an equivalent of ‘ivory’ has the unmistakable effect of situating the Greenlandic version in an Arctic context.” (Source: Lily Kahn & Riitta-Liisa Valijärvi in The Bible Translator 2019, p. 125ff.)

pomegranate

The Hebrew and Greek that is translated as “pomegranate” in English was translated in the 1900 Kalaallisut (Greenlandic) translation (a newer version was published in 2000) as kingmernarssûp or “big lingonberry.” “The Greenlandic word kingmernarssûp (modern kimmernarsuup) derives from kingmernaĸ (modern kimmernaq) ‘lingonberry’ (Vaccinium vitis-idaea ). The lingonberry is the fruit of a shrub from the heath family which is native to the boreal forest and tundra in the Arctic regions of North America, Europe, and Siberia, including western and southern Greenland. The term for ‘lingonberry’ has been modified with the suffix –ssuaĸ (modern –suaq ‘big’), resulting in a descriptive term meaning ‘big lingonberry.’ (Modern Greenlandic uses the Danish loanword granatæble.)” (Source: Lily Kahn & Riitta-Liisa Valijärvi in The Bible Translator 2019, p. 125ff.)

cucumber

The Hebrew that is translated as “cucumber” in English was translated in the 1900 Kalaallisut (Greenlandic) translation (a newer version was published in 2000) as naussorssuit or “big plant.” “The word for ‘cucumbers,’ naussorssuit (modern naasorsuit), the plural of naussorssuaĸ (modern naasorsuaq), is based on the root naussoĸ (modern naasoq), meaning ‘something that grows,’ with a suffix –ssuaĸ (modern –suaq) ‘big,’ meaning ‘big plant.’”

In the 1895 Northern Sami translation (a new translation was published in 2019) the translation was njalgga šaddoid (modern njálgga šattuid) or “sweet plants.” (Source: Lily Kahn & Riitta-Liisa Valijärvi in The Bible Translator 2019, p. 125ff.)

See also plant / gourd / ivy.