The Greek that is translated “born again” or “born from above” in English is translated in Xicotepec De Juárez Totonac as “have new life,” in Tenango Otomi as “live anew,” or in Tojolabal as “become new like a little baby.” (Source: M. Larson / B. Moore in Notes on Translation February 1970, p. 1-125)
The Greek that is translated as “Follow me” in English is translated as “Be my disciple” in Ojitlán Chinantec and “Don’t forsake me” in Tenango Otomi (the latter is used in John 21). (Source: M. Larson / B. Moore in Notes on Translation February 1970, p. 1-125.)
In Kaingang it is translated as “run with me and do as I do.” (Source Ursula Wiesemann in Holzhausen / Riderer 2010, p. 65).
See also come after me / follow me.
The Greek that is translated as “blasphemy” or “blaspheme” is (back-) translatated in various forms:
- Panao Huánuco Quechua: “speak evil of God”
- Western Kanjobal: “to hurt God”
- Southern Bobo Madaré: “to break God’s name”
- Loma: “to spoil the name of God”
- Luvale: “to insult God”
- Pamona and Malay: “to slander God”
- Javanese and German: “to defame God”
- Tae’: “to bring curses (or “calamitous words”) against God”
- Uab Meto: “to talk to pieces” (source for this and above: Bratcher / Nida)
- Xicotepec De Juárez Totonac: “treat God with contempt”
- Ojitlán Chinantec: “say bad words”
- Yatzachi Zapotec: “slander God”
- Tenango Otomi: “don’t respect God with what one says”
- Navajo: “say evil about God” (source for this and four above: M. Larson / B. Moore in Notes on Translation February 1970, p. 1-125)
- Bacama: “spoiling the name of God” (source: David Frank in this blog post)
Following are a number of back-translations of John 1:17:
- Yatzachi Zapotec: “Moses taught the ancestors of us Israelites the law of God, but Jesus Christ came to teach that God loves mankind, and he teaches us all the true words of God.”
- Huehuetla Tepehua: “The law about the things of God, the one who gave it was Moses. But the love which was to us and the truth came into being because of Jesus Christ.”
- Umiray Dumaget Agta: “Even though Moses was caused to speak the rules of God, Jesus Christ was the one appointed to show mercy and to declare the truth.”
- Guerrero Amuzgo: “. . . but Jesus Christ is the source of all favor and of the words that are true.”
- Chol: “Jesus Christ came and gave us the goodness of his heart and truth.”
- Tenango Otomi: “By means of Moses the law of God is known. But by means of Jesus Christ the love of God and the true word are known.” (Source for this and above: M. Larson / B. Moore in Notes on Translation February 1970, p. 1-125.)
- Uma: “From the prophet Musa we received the Law of the Lord God. But [it is] from Yesus Kristus that we really know God, and his grace to us.” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
- Yakan: “The law of God was given/sent to mankind by Musa but God’s love and the truth are given to mankind by Isa Almasi, he is the one called the Word of God.” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
- Western Bukidnon Manobo: “And by means of Moses, God brought down to earth the laws. But by means of Jesus, God brought down to earth his love/grace for us and the true doctrine.” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
- Kankanaey: “Because God made-known his law through Moses, but his mercy/kindness and the truth concerning him, he made-known to us through Jesu Cristo.” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
- Tagbanwa: “Because God gave his laws to Moises which he was commanding us, but that grace/mercy of his and truth concerning himself, he caused us to comprehend through Jesu-Cristo.” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)
The Greek that is transliterated “Cephas” in English — and is an alternative name for Peter — is transliterated in Chinese Protestant translations as jīfǎ (traditional Chinese: 磯法, simplified Chinese: 矶法). The first character jī (磯 / 矶) is not only chosen because of its sound but also because of its meaning: “rock,” corresponding to the meaning of the Aramaic kēp̄ā (כֵּיפָא), to which the Greek Kēphâs (Κηφᾶς) refers and also alluding to Jesus’ proclamation in Matthew 16:18 (see Peter – rock).
Note that Catholic Chinese versions don’t follow the English pronunciation of “Cephas” with its opening [s] sound. They use kēfǎ (刻法) transliterating the [k] sound from the Aramaic and Greek. Kēfǎ does not carry the additional meaning of “rock.” (Source: Jost Zetzsche)
In the Neo-Aramaic language of Assyrian the terms used for both “Peter” (English transliteration of the Greek “πετρος”) and “Cephas” are identical (كِيپَا, pronounced kēpā). (Source: Ken Bunge)
The passage in John 1:42 (“You are to be called Cephas (which is translated Peter)” in English) is solved by various translations like this: “‘I am going to name you Cephas.’ Cephas means ‘Peter.’ Both mean ‘rock.'” (Ojitlán Chinantec), “I am naming you Cephas. ‘Cephas’ in the Jews’ language, ‘Peter’ in the Greek language, the meaning being ‘stone’.” (Alekano), “You will become known as Cephas,’ he said, which in our language means ‘rock.'” (Chol), or “You will be called Cephas and also Peter.” Tenango Otomi. (Source: M. Larson / B. Moore in Notes on Translation February 1970, p. 1-125.)
See also Peter – rock.
The Greek that is translated as “he loved them to the end” or similar in English is translated as “there wasn’t any limit to his love” in Tenango Otomi. (Source: John Beekman in Notes on Translation 12, November 1964, p. 1ff.)
The Greek that is translated as “(not worthy to) untie sandals” or similar in English is translated in Awa as “because he is an important one, when he speaks I will be silent” since “the Jewish idea of not being worthy of even removing the sandals of an important person is foreign to Papua New Guinea.”
Other languages express it this way: “I am not worthy to be his servant” (Yatzachi Zapotec), “if unworthy I should even carry his burden, it would not be right” (Alekano), or “I don’t compare with him” (Tenango Otomi). (Source: M. Larson / B. Moore in Notes on Translation February 1970, p. 1-125.)
The Greek that is translated as “I am the way” is translated as “I am the road to heaven” in Xicotepec De Juárez Totonac, “I am the path by which you go” in Shipibo-Conibo, “I am the one who will guide you” in Asháninka, and “Because of me you will arrive to where God is” in Tenango Otomi. (Source: John Beekman in Notes on Translation 12, November 1964, p. 1ff.)
The Greek that is translated as “without him not one thing came into being” or similar in English is translated in Huehuetla Tepehua as “if it hadn’t been for him there would not have been the world or anything” and in Tenango Otomi as “of all the things there are, there is not one that he did not make.” (Source: M. Larson / B. Moore in Notes on Translation February, 1970, p. 1-125.)
In Lalana Chinantec, the double-negative is turned into a positive: “All things came into being because that person made all that exists.” (Source: Larson 1998, p. 159)
The Greek that is translated in English as “prune” is translated in Tenango Otomi as “care for it and take off the dry bits.” (Source: John Beekman in Notes on Translation 12, November 1964, p. 1ff.)
The Greek that is translated in English as “the light” is translated in John 1:8 in Alekano as “the father of light,” in Xicotepec De Juárez Totonac as “the true light,” and in Tenango Otomi as “that one who opens the hearts of the people.”
“We’ve been working on the Nukna translation of the book of John, and recently came to Jesus’ famous statement in John 8:12, ‘I am the light of the world.’ As we discussed how to best translate this metaphor, we realized that there was a problem. There is a Nukna word for light — yam — but it’s not possible to say just yam by itself. Light always has a source, and grammatically that source must be included, either by mentioning the actual source or by using a possessive pronoun — ‘its light,’ ‘their light,’ etc. It would be ungrammatical to just say ‘light.’ ( This grammatical feature is known as ‘inalienable possession.’) To literally translate ‘I am the light of the world’ into Nukna would lead to an unacceptable Nukna sentence.
“One idea we’ve had is to use a common source of light that the Nukna people are familiar with: the bamboo torch. The Nukna people live in a remote area without electricity. To see at night, they often light up a species of bamboo named kup. Kup burns with a blazing brightness, and a long piece can be held as a torch, enabling a person to walk at night around the otherwise pitch black village. So in Nukna, Jesus’ words would read, ‘I am like a bamboo torch [kup] that shines its light to the world.’
“Our translation team needs to do further testing to see if this figure of speech is communicating accurately and powerfully. Please pray for us, that God would guide us as we seek to communicate this concept, as well as many others, into the Nukna language in a dynamic and life-changing way. ‘It’s like the light of a bamboo torch shining in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.’ (John 1:5).”
Likewise, Mungaka also uses “torch” (source: Nama 1990).