third hour

The Greek that is translated as “third hour (of the day)” or “nine in the morning” in English is translated in Mende as “the morning sun is only just getting strong.” (Source: John Ellington)

It is translated as “still early” in Desano, as “up-sun (9 a.m.)” in Chuj, as “still not really high sun at all” in Chichimeca-Jonaz, and as “the sun is barely gone half way to the top” in San Mateo del Mar Huave. (Source: Viola Waterhouse in Notes on Translation August 1966, p. 86ff.)

shows no partiality

The Greek that is translated as “shows no partiality” in English is translated in the following ways:

See also God shows no partiality

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.” “Paddy” is also the translation in Pa’o Karen (source: Gordon Luce in The Bible Translator 1950, p. 153f.).

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.)

stocks

The Greek that is typically translated as “stocks” in English is translated in Isthmus Mixe as “notched boards” (source: Ronald D. Olson in Notes on Translation January, 1968, p. 15ff.).

In Lalana Chinantec it is translated as “where planks have holes in them and where peoples’ feet are tight,” in Chichimeca-Jonaz as “bit their feet with wood,” and in Morelos Nahuatl as “stuck between two boards.” (Source: Viola Waterhouse in Notes on Translation August 1966, p. 86ff.)

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.)

In Chichewa, “devout men” in Acts 8:2 is anthu ena okonda Mulungu or “some people who loved God” (interconfessional translation, publ. 1999). (Source: Wendland 1998, p. 90)

cast lots

The Greek that is translated as “casting” or “drawing lots” in English is often translated with a specific idiom, such as “to take out bamboo slips” — 掣 籤 chè qiān (in most Chinese Bibles), “each to pick-up which is-written (i.e. small sticks inscribed with characters and used as slots)” (Batak Toba), a term for divination by means of reed stalks (Toraja-Sa’dan).

In some cases a cultural equivalent is not available, or it is felt to be unsuitable in this situation, e.g. in Ekari where “to spin acorns” has the connotation of gambling, one may have to state the fact without mentioning the means, e.g. “it came to him,” (source for this and all above: Reiling / Swellengrebel). In Shipibo-Conibo there was no equivalent for “casting lots” so the translation for Mark 15:24 is descriptive: “they shook little things to decide what each one should take” (source: Nida 1952, p. 47).

Other solutions include:

  • Purari: “throw shells” (source: David Clark)
  • Kwara’ae (in Acts 1:26) “they played something like dice to find out who of the two God chose (God revealed his will that way)” (source: Carl Gross)
  • Navajo: “draw straws”
  • Yatzachi Zapotec “raffle”
  • Chol “choose by a game” (source for this and above: M. Larson / B. Moore in Notes on Translation February 1970, p. 1-125)
  • Chichimeca-Jonaz: “threw one or two little hard things that had a sign…to see which person it would be”
  • Kekchí: “tried with luck
  • Lalana Chinantec: “there were little things they played with that made evident who it would be who would be lucky”
  • Chuj: “entered luck upon them”
  • Ayutla Mixtec: “put out luck” (Source for this and five above: Viola Waterhouse in Notes on Translation August 1966, p. 86ff.)
  • Lacandon: “play with small stones in order to see who was going to win” (source: B. Moore / G. Turner in Notes on Translation 1967, p. 1ff.)

In North Alaskan Inupiatun a term for “gambling” is used. The same Inupiatun term is also used in Esther 3:7, “though there winning and losing is not in view, but rather choosing by chance” (source: Robert Bascom)

The stand-alone term that is translated “lots” in English is translated as “two pieces of potsherd” in Highland Totonac. (Source: Ronald D. Olson in Notes on Translation January, 1968, p. 15ff.)

census

The Greek and Hebrew that is typically translated as “census” in English is translated in these ways:

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” or “heart-strengthens me,” in Isthmus Mixe as “stays with 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)