figures of speech

The Greek that is translated as “figures of speech” or similar in English is translated in Ojitlán Chinantec as “telling words a little bit covered,” in Tenango Otomi as “comparisons,” in Navajo: “stories that teach,” and in Mezquital Otomi as “like a story” (source: M. Larson / B. Moore in Notes on Translation February 1970, p. 1-125.).

See also parable and image.

the perfect law - the law of liberty

The Greek that is translated as “the perfect law, the law of liberty” or similar in English is translated in Central Mazahua as “God has set us free so that we are able to obey his word,” in Rincón Zapotec as “the law of God which is perfect and is able to cause us to be saved,” in Mezquital Otomi as “God’s new word frees us in order that our life will be good,” and in Eastern Highland Otomi as “the new word which is like a law strengthens our hearts so that with pleasure we will obey it.”

(Source: Ellis Deibler in Notes on Translation July, 1967, p. 5ff.)

apostle, apostles

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The Greek term that is translated as “apostle(s)” in English is (back-) translated in the following ways:

rudder

The Greek that is translated as “(small) rudder” in English is translated in Yatzachi Zapotec as “(a small) stick,” in Mezquital Otomi as “a (little) metal,” in Rincón Zapotec as “(little) wooden hand” (source: Ellis Deibler in Notes on Translation July, 1967, p. 5ff.), and in Tetelcingo Nahuatl as “board to steer” (source: Ronald D. Olson in Notes on Translation January, 1968, p. 15ff.).

See also ship and anchor.

devout

The Greek that is often translated in English as “devout” is translated in Lalana Chinantec as “who revered God,” in Chichimeca-Jonaz as “who obey and worship God,” in Eastern Highland Otomi as “that remembered God,” in San Mateo del Mar Huave as “worshipers of God,” in Tzotzil as “they were zealously doing God’s word they thought,” in Coatlan Mixe as “they comply with all Jewish customs” (esp. Acts 2:5) and in Mezquital Otomi as “very much believed what they had been taught about God.” (Source: Viola Waterhouse in Notes on Translation August 1966, p. 86ff.)

receive the gift of the Holy Spirit

The Greek that is translated “receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” or similar in English is translated as “receive the gift of God which is the Holy Spirit” in Eastern Highland Otomi, “God will give his Spirit to you” in Chuj, “God will cause his Holy Spirit to possess you” in Teutila Cuicatec, “the Holy Spirit will come into your souls with his power” in Desano, “you will receive the Holy Spirit, Father God will give you that” in San Mateo del Mar Huave, and “God will send the Holy Spirit to live with you” Mezquital Otomi. (Source for this and above: Viola Waterhouse in Notes on Translation August 1966, p. 86ff.)

See also Receive the Holy Spirit.

fresh water and bitter water

The Greek that is translated into English as “fresh water and bitter (or: brackish) water” is translated into Yatzachi Zapotec as “sweet water and hard water” and in Mezquital Otomi as “clean water and water that is bitter” (source: Ellis Deibler in Notes on Translation July, 1967, p. 5ff.).

mercy

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The Greek terms that are typically translated as “mercy” (or “compassion”) in English are translated in various ways. Bratcher / Nida classify them in (1) those based on the quality of heart, or other psychological center, (2) those which introduce the concept of weeping or extreme sorrow, (3) those which involve willingness to look upon and recognize the condition of others, or (4) those which involve a variety of intense feelings.

Here are some (back-) translations:

grieving, sorrowful

The Greek that is translated as “grieving” or “sorrowful” in English is often translated metaphorically: “his stomach died” (Mezquital Otomi), “he was heavy in his stomach” (Uduk), “his heart was pained” (Kpelle), “he was sick in his mind” (Amganad Ifugao), “his heart hung” (Loma), and “his heart was spoiled” (Mossi).

See also Seat of the Mind for traditional views of “ways of knowing, thinking, and feeling.”