pray

The Greek that is translated as a form of “pray” in English is often translated as “talking with God” (Central Pame, Tzeltal, Chol, Chimborazo Highland Quichua, Shipibo-Conibo, Kaqchikel, Tepeuxila Cuicatec, Copainalá Zoque, Central Tarahumara).

Other solutions include:

  • “to beg” or “to ask,” (full expression: “to ask with one’s heart coming out,” which leaves out selfish praying, for asking with the heart out leaves no place for self to hide) (Tzotzil)
  • “to cause God to know” (Huichol)
  • “to raise up one’s words to God” (implying an element of worship, as well as communication) (Miskito, Lacandon) (Source of this and all above: Bratcher / Nida)
  • Shilluk: “speak to God” (source: Nida 1964, p. 237)
  • Ik: waan: “beg.” Terrill Schrock (in Wycliffe Bible Translators 2016, p. 93) explains (click or tap here to read more):

    What do begging and praying have to do with each other? Do you beg when you pray? Do I?

    “The Ik word for ‘visitor’ is waanam, which means ‘begging person.’ Do you beg when you go visiting? The Ik do. Maybe you don’t beg, but maybe when you visit someone, you are looking for something. Maybe it’s just a listening ear.

    When the Ik hear that [my wife] Amber and I are planning trip to this or that place for a certain amount of time, the letters and lists start coming. As the days dwindle before our departure, the little stack of guests grows. ‘Please, sir, remember me for the allowing: shoes, jacket (rainproof), watch, box, trousers, pens, and money for the children. Thank you, sir, for your assistance.’

    “A few people come by just to greet us or spend bit of time with us. Another precious few will occasionally confide in us about their problems without asking for anything more than a listening ear. I love that.

    “The other day I was in our spare bedroom praying my list of requests to God — a nice list covering most areas of my life, certainly all the points of anxiety. Then it hit me: Does God want my list, or does he want my relationship?

    “I decided to try something. Instead of reading off my list of requests to God, I just talk to him about my issues without any expectation of how he should respond. I make it more about our relationship than my list, because if our personhood is like God’s personhood, then maybe God prefers our confidence and time to our lists, letters, and enumerations.”

In Luang it is translated with different shades of meaning:

  • For Acts 1:14, 20:36, 21:5: kola ttieru-yawur nehla — “hold the waist and hug the neck.” (“This is the more general term for prayer and often refers to worship in prayer as opposed to petition. The Luang people spend the majority of their prayers worshiping rather than petitioning, which explains why this term often is used generically for prayer.”)
  • For Acts 1:14, 28:9: sumbiani — “pray.” (“This term is also used generically for ‘prayer’. When praying is referred to several times in close proximity, it serves as a variation for kola ttieru-yawur nehla, in keeping with Luang discourse style. It is also used when a prayer is made up of many requests.”)
  • For Acts 8:15, 12:5: polu-waka — “call-ask.” (“This is a term for petition that is used especially when the need is very intense.”)

Source: Kathy Taber in Notes on Translation 1/1999, p. 9-16.

worship

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

The Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek terms that are often translated as “worship” (also, “kneel down” or “bow down”) are likewise translated in other languages in certain categories, including those based on physical activity, those which incorporate some element of “speaking” or “declaring,” and those which specify some type of mental activity.

Following is a list of (back-) translations (click or tap for details):

  • Javanese: “to prostrate oneself before”
  • Malay: “to kneel and bow the head”
  • Kaqchikel: “to kneel before”
  • Loma (Liberia): “to drop oneself beneath God’s foot”
  • Tepeuxila Cuicatec: “to wag the tail before God” (using a verb which with an animal subject means “to wag the tail,” but with a human subject)
  • Tzotzil: “to join to”
  • Kpelle: “to raise up a blessing to God”
  • Kekchí: “to praise as your God”
  • Cashibo-Cacataibo: “to say one is important”
  • San Blas Kuna: “to think of God with the heart”
  • Rincón Zapotec: “to have one’s heart go out to God”
  • Tabasco Chontal: “to holy-remember” (source of this and all above: Bratcher / Nida)
  • Obolo: itọtọbọ ebum: “expressing reverence and devotion” (source: Enene Enene)
  • Ngäbere: “to cut oneself down before” (“This figure of speech comes from the picture of towering mahoganies in the forest which, under the woodman’s ax, quiver, waver, and then in solemn, thunderous crashing bury their lofty heads in the upstretched arms of the surrounding forest. This is the experience of every true worshiper who sees ‘the Lord, high and lifted up.’ Our own unworthiness brings us low. As the Valientes say, ‘we cut ourselves down before’ His presence. Our heads, which have been carried high in self-confidence, sink lower and lower in worship.)
  • Tzeltal: “ending oneself before God.” (“Only by coming to the end of oneself can one truly worship. The animist worships his deities in the hope of receiving corresponding benefits, and some pagans in Christendom think that church attendance is a guarantee of success in this life and good luck in the future. But God has never set a price on worship except the price that we must pay, namely, ‘coming to the end of ourselves.'”) (Source of this and the one above: Nida 1952, p. 163)
  • Folopa: “dying under God” (“an idiom that roughly back-translates “dying under God” which means lifting up his name and praising him and to acknowledge by everything one does and thanks that God is superior.”) (Source: Anderson / Moore, p. 202)
  • Chokwe: “kuivayila” — “to rub something on” (“When anyone goes into the presence of a king or other superior, according to native law and custom the inferior gets down on the ground, takes a little earth in the fingers of his right hand, rubs it on his own body, and then claps his hands in homage and the greeting of friendship. It is a token of veneration, of homage, of extreme gratitude for some favor received. It is also a recognition of kingship, lordship, and a prostrating of oneself in its presence. Yet it simply is the applicative form of ‘to rub something on oneself’, this form of the verb giving the value of ‘because of.’ Thus in God’s presence as king and Lord we metaphorically rub dirt on ourselves, thus acknowledging Him for what He really is and what He has done for us.”) (Source: D. B. Long in The Bible Translator 1952, p. 87ff.)

In Luang it is translated with different shades of meaning:

  • For Mark 15:19 and Matt. 2:8 and 2:11: “uh’idma-rrama llia’ara” — “to kiss the fingernail and lick the heel”
  • For Acts 16:14: “ra’uli-rawedi” — “to praise-talk about”
  • For Acts 14:15, 15:20, 17:16, 17:25: “hoi-tani” — “serve right hand – serve left”
  • For Acts 13:16 and 13:26: “una-umta’ata” — “respect-fear”
  • For 2 Thess. 2:4: “kola tieru awur nehla” — “hold waist – hug neck”

Source: Kathy Taber in Notes on Translation 1/1999, p. 9-16.

testify

The Greek that is often translated as “testify” in English has the option of terms in Luang with different shades of meaning.

For Acts 10:42, “nala linniohora-matniohora” (“give ear-eyes about”). “This term is used when the witness actually saw the event and testifies truthfully about what he has seen.”

For Acts 10:43 and 20:24, “raltiernohora” (“talk-about”). “The focus of this term is on the talking, only without reference to the truth of the testimony. It may be used of a false witness.”

Source: Kathy Taber in Notes on Translation 1/1999, p. 9-16.

offering, sacrifice

The Greek terms that are translated uniformly as “sacrifice” or “offering” in English have the option of various terms in Luang with different shades of meaning.

For Acts 24:17, “himima-rere’a” (“holding two hands out”). “The focus of this term is on the gift being given by a person of lower position to a person of higher position.”

For Acts 21:26, “hniurliwtu-nwali odawa” (“pour out sweat [and] turn into sweaty smell”). “The focus is on the personal cost of the sacrifice.”

For Gen. 22:2-8 and Gen. 22:13, “hopopa-hegeuru” (“peace sign”). “The focus is on the animal or object being sacrificed, as in the story of the sacrifice of Isaac. This term was used throughout that whole chapter. This term is also used in verses that speak of Jesus as the sacrifice for our sins.”

For Acts 15:29, “hoi-tani” (“serve with right hand – serve with left”). “This term is used in referring to sacrifices or worship offered to idols or pagan gods.”

Source: Kathy Taber in Notes on Translation 1/1999, p. 9-16.

ruler

The Greek that is often translated as “ruler” in English has the option of various terms in Luang with different shades of meaning.

For Acts 16:22 and 17:6, “maktorna lodna-hairi” (“one who holds the rod and the flag”). “The focus of this term is on national or government authorities.”

For Mark 10:42, “makkukma-kto’ma” (“the one who pinches you”). “An unjust ruler.”

For Acts 4:26, “maktorna-makrautu” (“one who holds – one who scratches”). “The focus of this term is on the manpower a ruler controls, such as a large army.”

For Acts 5:31, “maktoranreria krita o’tani-hairi wuwannu” (“one who holds the octopus’s head – the flag’s top”). “This term refers to a ruler of the highest level. This is what God has raised up Jesus to be. The word ‘octopus’ in this natural doublet contains the idea of supreme control. An octopus has so many arms it can be in control of everything at the same time.”

Source: Kathy Taber in Notes on Translation 1/1999, p. 9-16.

persecute, suffer

The Greek that is often translated as “persecute” or “suffer” in English has the option of various terms in Luang with different shades of meaning.

For Acts 8:1 and 9:4, “ramuki-rama’ala” (“hit and kick”). This term refers to “physical persecution.”

For Acts 7:6, 7:19, 7:24, “rnahora-rnala’a” (“to send here-to send there”, “give the run-around”). This term is used when “emotional pressure or frustration is in focus.”

For Acts 20:23, “kropna-kreut” (“send here-there”). This term is used for “pushing people around, treating them as no better than a slave.”

For 2 Tim. 1:12, “mola-ma’a” (“make shame”). This term is used when “making someone lose face, generally with words.”

Source: Kathy Taber in Notes on Translation 1/1999, p. 9-16.

love (Luang)

The various Greek terms that are translated as “love” in English can be translated with various terms in Luang with different shades of meaning.

For Acts 7:46 and Titus 1:8, “ralamni nala” (“insides take”). “This term has the sense of finding favor with or being pleased by someone and is used for love between a man and a woman, between a parent and a much-loved child. It is also used of God’s being especially pleased with a human, such as he was with Noah and Moses. It can refer to loving objects good or bad, and to loving the world. The focus here is on some pleasing characteristic of the person or thing loved.”

For Mark 6:34, “nmawaldoinla” (“insides turn completely over”). “Love mixed with pity and distress. One can feel this for oneself as well as for others. Jesus felt this way when he looked at the multitudes who were like sheep without a shepherd.”

For Mark 1:11, “lilili” (“take care of, honor”). “Loving with special care, attention, and honor. This is the term often used for loving a dear child and God’s loving his Son.”

For 1 Thess. 2:8 and Mark 1:11, “siayni” (“love, pity”). “Affection for children or for those in difficult circumstances.”

For Titus 3:4 and 1 Thess. 1:2-3, “ralamni kalwieda-paitiota” (“good insides”). The focus of this term is the goodness of the one who loves. There is absolutely no focus whatsoever on the one loved, who may even be despicable. This term is often used for God’s love and mercy toward us especially in such verses as ‘God loved us, not because of what we have done, but because of his great mercy.'”

For 1 Thess. 1:4 and 2 Tim. 4:10, “napalniana” (“insides face”). “The sense of this term is very close to that of the sense of ‘ralamni nalal’ for ‘love’. It indicates something about the thing or person loved that pleases the one loving. However, the sense ‘ralamni nalal’ refers generally to love as an outcome of the loved one’s pleasing characteristics, while this term, when it collocates with human beings, is used more for love that results from the loved one’s loving actions. It is not used for the love between a man and a woman.”

The following are service-related terms for “love.” “There are several different words for love where the focus is on the act produced by love, not on the goodness of the one loving, the one being loved, or any emotion of affection or pity. These words are differentiated by the particular service given and are mainly used in verses where people are commanded to love one another.”

For 2 Thess. 1:3 and 1 Tim. 6:18, “ra’a-palu” (“love-widow”). “This term’s focus is on love displayed by giving to one another financially.”

For 1 Thess. 3:12, “nhimpai-nmanatu” (“hold out hands, place carefully”). This term’s focus is more on daily practical care of someone.

For Titus 2:2 and 1 Tim. 6:11, “hima-re’a” (“hold out hands”). “This term’s focus is on helping someone with their work.”

For 1 Thess. 4:9, “mpiehwa-mliakta kalwiedweda” (“good/careful actions”). “This term’s focus is on the proper treatment of others on meeting them. It implies being hospitable, polite, respecting.”

Source: Kathy Taber in Notes on Translation 1/1999, p. 9-16.

judge

The Greek that is often translated as “judge” in English has the option of various terms in Luang with different shades of meaning.

For Acts 4:21 and 10:42, “maktorna wathudi lokarni-taitiaili lahanu” (“the one who holds the scales”). “This term is used when judgment of sin or wrong is in focus.”

For Acts 13:20, “maktorna deulu-tatra” (“the one who holds the law”). “This term is used for the judges in the Old Testament for whom judging wrong was only a part of their job.”

Source: Kathy Taber in Notes on Translation 1/1999, p. 9-16.

See also judge.

evil

The Greek that is often translated as “evil” in English has the option of various terms in Luang with different shades of meaning.

For Acts 24:9 and Gen. 6:11, “yata-hala” (“bad-wrong”). “This term refers to evil behavior.”

For Acts 27:12, “yota-yata” (“bad-bad”). “This term refers to the evil results of behavior or to objects of poor quality. (In Acts 27:12 it refers to a bad harbor).”

For Acts 12:11 and 13:50, “yatyatni” (“its badness”). “This term is often used when evil comes on a person from an outside force.”

Source: Kathy Taber in Notes on Translation 1/1999, p. 9-16.

disciple

(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 often translated as “disciple” in English typically follows three types of translation: (1) those which employ a verb ‘to learn’ or ‘to be taught’, (2) those which involve an additional factor of following, or accompaniment, often in the sense of apprenticeship, and (3) those which imply imitation of the teacher.

Following are some examples (click or tap for details):

In Luang several terms with different shades of meaning are being used.

  • For Mark 2:23 and 3:7: “maka nwatutu-nwaye’a re” — “those that are taught” (“This is the term used for ‘disciples’ before the resurrection, while Jesus was still on earth teaching them.”)
  • For Acts 9:1 and 9:10: “makpesiay” — “those who believe.” (“This is the term used for believers and occasionally for the church, but also for referring to the disciples when tracking participants with a view to keeping them clear for the Luang readers. Although Greek has different terms for ‘believers’, ‘brothers’, and ‘church’, only one Luang word can be used in a given episode to avoid confusion. Using three different terms would imply three different sets of participants.”)
  • For Acts 6:1: “mak lernohora Yesus wniatutunu-wniaye’eni” — “those who follow Jesus’ teaching.” (“This is the term used for ‘disciples’ after Jesus returned to heaven.”)

Source: Kathy Taber in Notes on Translation 1/1999, p. 9-16.