proselyte

The Greek that is often translated as “proselyte” in English is translated in various ways:

  • Isthmus Mixe: “those that entered the mind of the Israelites”
  • Desano: “people who are of the same religion as the Jews”
  • San Mateo del Mar Huave: “people who were not Jews but have come to believe as the Jewish people believe”
  • Isthmus Mixe: “those who entered the mind of the Israelites”
  • Mayo: “those who live according to Jewish custom”
  • Teutila Cuicatec: “people from other nations who believe the same as those of the nation of Israel”
  • Chuj: “those who have received the religion of the Israel people”
  • Morelos Nahuatl: “those who entered the religion of the Jews”
  • Lalana Chinantec: “those who worship God as the Israel people do”
  • Chichimeca-Jonaz: “those who joined with the Jews because they went to believing like them”
  • Falam Chin: “those who entered/joined the Jews’ religious party from other tribes” (source for this and above: Viola Waterhouse in Notes on Translation August 1966, p. 86ff.)

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.)

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.)

full of grace

The Greek that is typically translated as “full of grace” in English is translated in the following ways:

in the last days

The Greek that is translated as “in the last days” in English is translated as “there will be a day” in Eastern Highland Otomi, as “when the world is about to turn around” in Isthmus Mixe, as “when the time comes that the sky will soon perish” in Lalana Chinantec, as “when it will nearly be time for the world to come to an end” in Chichimeca-Jonaz, as “while the last day is near” in Tzotzil, and as “close to when the end comes” in Huichol. (Source for this and one above: Viola Waterhouse in Notes on Translation August 1966, p. 86ff.)

filled with the Holy Spirit, full with the Holy Spirit

The Greek that is rendered in English as “filled with the Holy Spirit” or “full with the Holy Spirit” is translated in various ways:

  • Tboli: “the Holy Spirit shall be with him,”
  • Shipibo-Conibo: “the Holy Spirit shall permeate him” (using a term said of medicines)
  • Cuyonon: “he shall be under the control of the Holy Spirit” (esp. Luke 4:1, Acts 7:55, Acts 11:24)
  • Ngäbere: “the full strength of the Holy Spirit shall stay in him”
  • Tae’ (translation of 1933): “he shall carry the Holy Spirit in his inner being” (source for this and all above: Reiling / Swellengrebel)
  • Yamba and Bulu: “the Holy Spirit filled their hearts” (source: W. Reyburn in The Bible Translator 1959, p. 1ff.)
  • Rincón Zapotec: “the Holy Spirit come to be completely with them”
  • Eastern Highland Otomi: “they all walked with the Holy Spirit of God”
  • Chuj: “God’s Spirit entered into all of them”
  • Morelos Nahuatl: “the Holy Spirit entered everyone’s heart to rule”
  • Teutila Cuicatec: “God’s Spirit possessed all of them” / “in all the authority of the Holy Spirit”
  • Isthmus Mixe: “have the Holy Spirit very much” or “Holy Spirit enter one completely”
  • Lalana Chinantec: “One’s heart really obeyed what the Holy Spirit wanted”
  • Chichimeca-Jonaz: “one’s heart full of God’s Holy Spirit” (source for this and seven above: Viola Waterhouse in Notes on Translation August 1966, p. 86ff.)

The following story is relayed by Martha Duff Tripp as she led the translation of the New Testament into Yanesha’ (p. 310):

I continue to work with Casper Mountain [an Yanesha’ translator] on translation. As we start the book of Luke, we run into another problem. In Chapter 1, verse 15, the text reads (speaking of John the Baptist), “and he shall be filled with the Holy Spirit.” The Amueshas [Yanesha’s] have never associated their word for “fill” with anything except pots and baskets. How can a person be “filled”? Even their word for a full stomach is not the word for “fill.” We talk together about what “filled with the Holy Spirit” means (obsessed with or possessed by). The thought comes to me of what the Amueshas [Yanesha’s] say about the shaman. They say that he can “wear” the spirit of the tiger, that they can tell when he is wearing the tiger spirit because he then will act like a tiger. Their word for “wear” is the same word as to “wear or put on a garment.” Can this possibly be the way to say “filled with God’s Spirit”? As I cautiously question Casper about this, his face lights up immediately. “Yes, that is the way we would say it, he is ’wearing’ God’s Holy Spirit.”

See also Holy Spirit.

our ancestor Abraham

The Greek that is translated as “our ancestor Abraham” is translated in Chichimeca-Jonaz as “Father Abraham, the stalk we came from.” (Source: Viola Waterhouse in Notes on Translation August 1966, p. 86ff.)

council

The Greek that is translated as “council” or “Council” in English is (back-) translated in a variety of ways:

beautiful before God

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

author of life

The Greek that is translated as “author of life” in English is translated as “the one who give eternal life” in Rincón Zapotec, as “the one who gave us (incl.) our life” in Chichimeca-Jonaz, as “the Lord that gives life” in Eastern Highland Otomi, as “him who causes us to live” in Morelos Nahuatl, as “that man who has caused everything to be that there is” in San Mateo del Mar Huave, or as “gives life to people” Tepeuxila Cuicatec. (Source: Viola Waterhouse in Notes on Translation August 1966, p. 86ff.)

chariot

The Hebrew and the Greek that is translated into English as “chariot” is translated into Anuak as “canoe pulled by horse.” “Canoe” is the general term for “vehicle” (source: Loren Bliese). In Eastern Highland Otomi it’s translated as “cart pulled by horses” (source: Larson 1998, p. 98)

In Chichicapan Zapotec it is translated as “ox cart” (in Acts 8). Ox carts are common vehicles for travel. (Source´: Loren Bliese)

In Chichimeca-Jonaz, it is translated as “little house with two feet pulled by two horses.” (Source: Viola Waterhouse in Notes on Translation August 1966, p. 86ff.)

See also cart.

tent of testimony

The Greek that is translated as “tent of testimony” or similar in English is translated as “a leather house which they could pack up again, where they remembered God” in Lalana Chinantec, as “cloth house where they worshipped God” in Eastern Highland Otomi, as “cloth house where God spoke to the people” in Chichimeca-Jonaz, as “house of God where they kept the stones on which were written the commandments of God” in Morelos Nahuatl, as “small holy house which was of the skins of animals, in it were the stones which contained the ten commandments” in San Mateo del Mar Huave, and “inside this church the slates on which God’s law was written were kept” Teutila Cuicatec. (Source: Viola Waterhouse in Notes on Translation August 1966, p. 86ff.)