Cyprus, island

The Greek that is transliterated as “Cyprus” in English is translated more specifically as “the island of Cyprus” in some languages. Eastern Highland Otomi for instance has “the land of Cyprus, the little land it sits in the water,” Morelos Nahuatl has “the land-rise of Cyprus,” or Lalana Chinantec has “land in the middle of the water which is called Cyprus.” (Source: Viola Waterhouse in Notes on Translation August 1966, p. 86ff.)

See also complete verse (Acts 13:4) and Samothrace.

grain

The Greek that is translated in English as “grain” (or: “corn”) is translated in Kui as “(unthreshed) rice.” Helen Evans (in The Bible Translator 1954, p. 40ff.) explains: “Padddy [unthreshed rice] is the main crop of the country and rice the staple diet of the people, besides which [grain] is unknown and there is no word for it, and it seemed to us that paddy and rice in the mind of the Kui people stood for all that corn meant to the Jews.”

Other translations include: “wheat” (Teutila Cuicatec), “corn” (Lalana Chinantec), “things to eat” (Morelos Nahuatl), or “grass corn” (wheat) Chichimeca-Jonaz. (Source: Viola Waterhouse in Notes on Translation August 1966, p. 86ff.)

right hand of

The Greek and Hebrew that is typically translated as “(to the) right hand of” is often translated much more descriptively in other languages. In Yakan it is translated as “at the right side, here in the greatest/most important/most honored place/seat,” in Mezquital Otomi as “the right hand, at the place of honor,” in Chuj as “exalted at the right hand,” in Chichimeca-Jonaz as “in a high place there at the right,” in Lalana Chinantec as “make great,” in Isthmus Mixe as “given great authority,” in Morelos Nahuatl as “placed big,” in Isthmus Mixe as “stays with me,” in Morelos Nahuatl as “heart-strengthens me” (source: Viola Waterhouse in Notes on Translation August, 1966, p. 86ff), and in Teutila Cuicatec as “in all authority at the right side” (source: Ronald D. Olson in Notes on Translation January, 1968, p. 15ff.).

In Lamnso’, the seat on the right-hand side signifies that the person seated there would have a higher position than the one to his left (vs. just being a seat of honor). To circumvent any misunderstanding of the biblical text, the translation here refers to the “highest seat next to God.” (Source: Karl Grebe in Holzhausen 1991, p. 52)

the nation that they serve

The Greek that is translated as “the nation that they serve” is translated as “that nation which treats your children as though they were animals” in Morelos Nahuatl. (Source: Viola Waterhouse in Notes on Translation August 1966, p. 86ff.)

after my heart

The Greek that is translated as “(man) after my heart” in English is translated in a number of ways:

See also complete verse (Acts 13:22).

Satan

The Greek that is typically transliterated in English as “Satan” is transliterated in Kipsigis as “Setani.” This is interesting because it is not only a transliteration that approximates the Greek sound but it is also an existing Kipsigis word with the meaning of “ugly” and “sneaking.” (Source: Earl Anderson in The Bible Translator 1950, p. 85ff.)

In Morelos Nahuatl it is translated as “envious one”. (Source: Viola Waterhouse in Notes on Translation August 1966, p. 86ff.)

beautiful before God

The Greek that is translated as “beautiful before God” in English is translated in the following ways:

fornication, sexual immorality

The Greek that is translated as “sexual immorality” or “fornication” or similar is translated much more specifically in some languages. Morelos Nahuatl has “let a man not yield himself to another woman except only to his wife. Also let a woman not yield herself to another man except only to her husband” or in Lalana Chinantec as “not proper for them to mix themselves with other women. The same is true of women for other men also. (Source: Viola Waterhouse in Notes on Translation August 1966, p. 86ff.)

amazed and astonished

The Greek that is translated as “amazed and astonished” or similar in English is translated as “remained speechless and marveled” in Morelos Nahuatl, “their thinking went round and round” in Coatlán Mixe, “They lost their abdomens. They stared very much” in Chuj, and “it startled them and they were thinking it over inside their hearts” in Chichimeca-Jonaz. (Source: Viola Waterhouse in Notes on Translation August 1966, p. 86ff.)

See also amazed / astonished / marvel.

holy ground

The Greek and Hebrew that is translated as “holy ground” is tranlated as “you are before me and I am good” in Morelos Nahuatl and “where I myself am and I am God” in Rincón Zapotec. (Source: Viola Waterhouse in Notes on Translation August 1966, p. 86ff.)

spirit of divination

The Greek that is translated in English as “(she had a ) spirit of divination” or similar is translated in Morelos Nahuatl as “in that girl’s heart lived a demon. That demon could say what was going to happen before it happened,” in Lalana Chinantec as “she carried an evil spirit. Therefore she was able to make words ahead of time as to what would happen,” or in Coatlán Mixe as “she has a devil with her with which she foretells.” (Source: Viola Waterhouse in Notes on Translation August 1966, p. 86ff.)

stiff-necked, uncircumcised in heart and ears

The phrase that is translated into English as “you stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears” is translated into Afar as “You dry stones that nothing enters, and people who have hearts that refuse God, and ears closed saying we didn’t hear God’s message.” (stiff-necked > dry stones, uncircumcised in heart > hearts that refuse God, uncircumcised ears > ears closed to hearing God’s message) (Source: Loren Bliese)

Other translations for “uncircumcised in heart and ears” include:

  • Rincón Zapotec: “it doesn’t enter your hearts or your ears. You are like those who don’t even believe”
  • Eastern Highland Otomi: “hard are your hearts and not a little bit open are your ears”
  • Morelos Nahuatl: “you have your heart as unbelievers, you do not want to hear God’s word”
  • Highland Popoluca: “you never wanted to do God’s will, never truly believed”
  • Teutila Cuicatec: “you are just the same as those who do not believe God’s word because you do not obey”
  • Huichol: “you have not been marked with God’s sign in your hearts or in your ears (you are unruly and unsubmissive like an untamed, unbranded bronco)”
  • Ojitlán Chinantec: “you do not have the word-sign in your hearts. Your ears are clogged”
  • Copainalá Zoque: “you just don’t understand”
  • Isthmus Mixe: “your hearts and minds are not open” (source for this and above: Viola Waterhouse in Notes on Translation August 1966, p. 86ff.)
  • Kaqchikel: “with your hearts unprepared” (Source: Nida 1964, p. 220)