The Greek that is translated in English as “baptize with the Holy Spirit” is translated in Ixcatlán Mazatec as “(baptize so that) the Holy Spirit will come upon/enter you” (source: Robert Bascom) and in Mairasi as “wash with the Holy Spirit” (“water” baptism is “wash with water”) (source: Enggavoter 2004).
The Greek that is translated as “subject to weakness” or similar in English is translated in Ixcatlán Mazatec as “he suffers as all humans do.”
The Greek that is translated as “wisdom” in English is rendered in Amganad Ifugao and Tabasco Chontal as “(big) mind,” in Bulu and Yamba as “heart thinking,” in Tae’ as “cleverness of heart” (source for this and all above: Reiling / Swellengrebel), in Palauan as “bright spirit (innermost)” (source: Bratcher / Hatton), in Ixcatlán Mazatec as “with your best/biggest thinking” (source: Robert Bascom), and in Dobel, it is translated with the idiom “their ear holes are long-lasting” (in Acts 6:3) (source: Jock Hughes).
See also wisdom (Proverbs).
The Greek that is translated as “field” had to be specified in Ixcatlán Mazatec as “undeveloped property” (agricultural).
The Greek that is translated as “adultery” (typically understood as “marital infidelity”) in English is (back-) translated in the following ways:
- Highland Totonac: “to do something together”
- Yucateco: “pair-sin”
- Ngäbere: “robbing another’s half self-possession” (compare “fornication” which is “robbing self-possession,” that is, to rob what belongs to a person)
- Kaqchikel, Chol: “to act like a dog”
- Toraja-Sa’dan: “to measure the depth of the river of (another’s) marriage.”
- Inupiaq; “married people using what is not theirs” (compare “fornication” which is “unmarried people using what is not theirs” (source for this and all above: Bratcher / Nida)
- In Purari: “play hands with” or “play eyes with”
- In Hakha Chin the usual term for “adultery” applies only to women, so the translation for the Greek term that is translated into English as “adultery” was translated in Hakha Chin as “do not take another man’s wife and do not commit adultery.”
- In Falam Chin the term for “adultery” is the phrase for “to share breast” which relates to adultery by either sex. (Source for this and three above: David Clark)
- In Ixcatlán Mazatec a specification needs to be made to include both genders. (Source: Robert Bascom)
The Greek that is translated “(ruin and misery are) in their paths (or: ways)” is translated in Ixcatlán Mazatec as “(ruin and misery are) the path behind them” (as they caused the problems).
The Greek that is often translated as “immoral” in English in this verse is translated in Ixcatlán Mazatec with “sexual immorality.”
The Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic that is translated into English as “(to) bless” or “blessed” is translated into a wide variety of possibilities.
The Hebrew term barak (and the Aramaic term berak) also (and originally) means “to kneel” (a meaning which the word has retained — see Gen. 24:11) and can be used for God blessing people (or things), people blessing each other, or people blessing God. While English Bible translators have not seen a stumbling block in always using the same term (“bless” in its various forms), other languages need to make distinctions (see below).
In Bari, spoken in South Sudan, the connection between blessing and knees/legs is still apparent. For Genesis 30:30 (in English: “the Lord has blessed you wherever I turned”), Bari uses a common expression that says (much like the Hebrew) , ‘… blessed you to my feet.'” (Source: P. Guillebaud in The Bible Translator 1965, p. 189ff.)
Other examples for the translation of “bless” when God is the one who blesses include:
- “to think well of” (San Blas Kuna)
- “to speak good to” (Amganad Ifugao)
- “to make happy” (Pohnpeian)
- “to-cause-to-live-as-a-chief” (Zulu)
- “to sprinkle with a propitious (lit. cool) face,” (a poetic expression occurring in the priests’ language) (Toraja Sa’dan) (source for this and above: Reiling / Swellengrebel)
- “give good things” (Mairasi) (source: Enggavoter 2004)
- “asking good” (Yakan) (source: Yakan Back Translation)
- “praised, saying good things” (Central Yupik) (source: Robert Bascom)
- “greatly love” (Candoshi-Shapra (source: John C. Tuggy)
In Tagbanwa a phrase is used for both the blessing done by people and God that back-translates to “caused to be pierced by words causing grace/favor” (source: Tagbanwa Back Translation).
Ixcatlán Mazatec had to select a separate term when relating “to people ‘blessing’ God” (or things of God): “praise(d)” or “give thanks for” (in 1 Cor. 10:16) (“as it is humans doing the ‘blessing’ and people do not bless the things of God or God himself the way God blesses people” — source: Robert Bascom). Eastern Bru also uses “praise” for this a God-directed blessing (source: Bru back translation) and Uma uses “appropriate/worthy to be worshipped” (source: Uma back translation).
When related to someone who is blessing someone else, it is translated into Tsou as “to speak good hopes for.” In Waiwai it is translated as “may God be good and kind to you now.” (Sources: Peng Kuo-Wei for Tsou and Robert Hawkins in The Bible Translator 1962, pp. 164ff. for Waiwai.)
Some languages associate an expression that originally means “spitting” or “saliva” with blessing. The Bantu language Koonzime, for instance, uses that expression for “blessing” in their translation coming from either God or man. Traditionally, the term was used in an application of blessing by an aged superior upon a younger inferior, often in relation to a desire for fertility, or in a ritualistic, but not actually performed spitting past the back of the hand. The spitting of saliva has the effect of giving that person “tenderness of face,” which can be translated as “blessedness.” (Source: Keith Beavon)
The Greek and Hebrew that is translated in these verses as “nations” in English is translated in Ixcatlán Mazatec with a term emphasizing people (as opposed to territory).
The Hebrew and the Greek that is usually directly translated as “kiss” in English is translated more indirectly in other languages because kissing is deemed as inappropriate, is not a custom at all, or is not customary in the particular context (see the English translation of J.B. Phillips, 1960 in Rom. 16:16: “Give each other a hearty handshake”). Here are some examples:
- Pökoot: “greet warmly” (“kissing in public, certainly between men, is absolutely unacceptable in Pökoot.”) (Source: Gerrit van Steenbergen)
- Chamula Tzotzil, Ixcatlán Mazatec, Tojolabal: “greet each other warmly” or “hug with feeling” (source: Robert Bascom)
- Afar: “gaba tittal ucuya” (“give hands to each other”) (Afar kiss each other’s hands in greeting) (source: Loren Bliese)
- Roviana: “welcome one another joyfully”
- Cheke Holo: “Love each other in the way-joined-together that is holy” (esp. in Rom. 16:16) or “greet with love” (esp. 1Thess. 5:26 and 1Pet. 5.14)
- Pitjantjatjara: “And when you meet/join up with others of Jesus’ relatives hug and kiss them [footnote], for you are each a relative of the other through Jesus.” Footnote: “This was their custom in that place to hug and kiss one another in happiness. Maybe when we see another relative of Jesus we shake hands and rejoice.” (esp. Rom. 16:16) (source for this and two above: Carl Gross)
- Balanta-Kentohe and Mandinka: “touch cheek” or “cheek-touching” (“sumbu” in Malinka)
- Mende: “embrace” (“greet one another with the kiss of love”: “greet one another and embrace one another to show that you love one another”) (source for this and two above: Rob Koops)
- Gen: “embrace affectionately” (source: John Ellington)
- Kachin: “holy and pure customary greetings” (source: Gam Seng Shae)
- Kahua: “smell” (source: David Clark) (also in Ekari and Kekchí, source: Reiling / Swellengrebel)
- Nyanja: “to suck” (“habit and term a novelty amongst the young and more or less westernized people, the traditional term for greeting a friend after a long absence being, ‘to clap in the hands and laugh happily'”)
- Medumba: “suck the cheek” (“a novelty, the traditional term being ‘to embrace.'”)
- Shona (version of 1966): “to hug”
- Balinese: “to caress” (source for this and three above: Reiling / Swellengrebel)
The Greek that is typically translated as “mind of Christ” in English is translated in Ixcatlán Mazatec as “we follow the thoughts of Christ.”