rest (after creation)

The Hebrew term that is typically translated as “rest” in English is translated in Bari as “stand.” P. Guillebaud (in The Bible Translator 1965, p. 189ff.) explains: “The normal word for ‘rest,’ yukan, which had been used originally had to be rejected, because, as [the language assistant] Daniele pointed out, it also means taking a rest or ‘breather,’ and so implies the resumption of work after a pause. As the point here is the cessation of work, we had to use a different term altogether, literally ‘God stood from work.’ (In Exod. 31:17 God is said to have ‘rested’ and to have ‘refreshed himself’ after the labours of creation.)”

In Orma it is translated as “God removed his hand.” George Payton explains: “We were translating Genesis, and we came to the verse in 2:2 where God “rested” from the work of creating. Of course we did not want to communicate that God was tired from that work, as the English suggests. So I asked my translator, ‘When you finish working in your field preparing it before the rainy season and you have done all you can, there is nothing more you can do until it rains. What would you say that you have done in relation to the work? Finished? Stopped? Or something else?’ He said, ‘I would say that I removed my hand from that work, meaning it was finished and I am done with it.’ In 2:2 we used what he said and rendered the verse ‘On the 7th day God removed his hand from all the work that he had done.'”

striped / speckled / spotted

The Hebrew that is translated as “striped, speckled, and spotted” in English did not have an immediately accessible translation in Orma.

George Payton tells about how the translation team went about finding the right terms: “In Gen. 30 Jacob is living with uncle Laban taking care of Laban’s livestock. Then when Jacob complained about what his payment should be, Laban said that Jacob could keep all the livestock that were spotted, speckled or striped, but the solid colors white and black belonged to Laban. The trouble was how to translate ‘speckled, spotted, striped.’ The people we were translating for were herdsmen; they kept goats, sheep and cattle. They told me that they have one set of words for colors and patterns for describing the cattle, and a different set of vocabulary when talking about goats and sheep. I thought maybe we could tap into their rich ‘goat’ vocabulary and use some of their words in Genesis. So we went to a friend’s livestock to see the animals. I saw a pattern that was ‘strip-ish’ and asked what they called that pattern. Then I did the same for ‘spot-ish’ and ‘speckle-ish.’ Our goal was not to get an exact representation of the patterns mentioned in the Bible, but to give a general picture of some common patterns that people would know. So we used those terms in the translation and it read very well. When we tested it, no one asked what those words meant because everyone knew them.”