the Way

The Greek that is often translated in English as “the Way,” referring to the young church in Acts, is translated in a number of ways:

babbler

The Greek that is translated into English as “babbler” is translated in Fuyug as “this birdbrain.” (Source: David Clark)

In San Mateo del Mar Huave, it is translated as “that man who does not know how to close his mouth,” in Eastern Highland Otomi as “much-talker man,” in Teutila Cuicatec as “loud-mouthed fellow,” in Chichimeca-Jonaz as “person who does nothing but talk,” and in Morelos Nahuatl as “man who talks so much.” (Source: Viola Waterhouse in Notes on Translation August 1966, p. 86ff.)

uneducated and ordinary men

The Greek that is translated as “uneducated and ordinary men” or similar in English is translated in the following ways:

  • Lalana Chinantec: “people who were not learned, humble people
  • Morelos Nahuatl: “hadn’t studied a lot but were like anybody”
  • Chichimeca-Jonaz: “had not studied long in school, truly ordinary people, that is not officials”
  • Chuj: “they had never studied, they were plain people”
  • Teutila Cuicatec: “were not from important families and didn’t know paper (= didn’t have education)”
  • Totontepec Mixe: “they talked like people who plow” 8(source for this and above: Viola Waterhouse in Notes on Translation August 1966, p. 86ff.)

savior

The Greek that is translated as “savior” in English in translated in Laka as “one who takes us by the hand” (source: Nida 1952, p. 140), as “one who saves those on this earth” in Teutila Cuicatec, as “one who saves from save from sin” in Isthmus Mixe, as “a person who pardons people of their sins” in Tepeuxila Cuicatec (source for this and two above: Viola Waterhouse in Notes on Translation August 1966, p. 86ff.) and as Keny-Barranginy-Ngandabat or “One Bringing Life” in Nyongar (source: Warda-Kwabba Luke-Ang).

In various German and Dutch Bible translations, the term Heiland is used, which was introduced by Martin Luther in the 16th century and means “the healing one.” This term (as “Hælend”) was used in Old English as a translation for “Jesus” — see Swain 2019 and Jesus.

I will strike the shepherd

The Greek that is translated as “I will strike the shepherd” or similar in English is translated in San Mateo Del Mar Huave as “I will give room for the shepherd to be killed” and in Chichimeca-Jonaz as “It is written that which God said was going to happen to me: I am going to allow them to kill the shepherd.” (Source: B. Moore / G. Turner in Notes on Translation 1967, p. 1ff.)

Sovereign Lord

The Greek that is translated in English as “Sovereign Lord” is translated as “you who are Chief, you own all of us, truly you are God” in Chichimeca-Jonaz, as “Big Father, you are God” in Isthmus Mixe, as “my Lord who is the greatest” in Lalana Chinantec, as “our Lord, he who is greatest before us” in Ayutla Mixtec, as “you, Lord God, who is very great” in Tepeuxila Cuicatec, as “you, the Lord able to do all things” in Xicotepec De Juárez Totonac, or “God our Father, you are our Boss, the biggest” Tataltepec Chatino. (Source: Viola Waterhouse in Notes on Translation August 1966, p. 86ff.)

Kingdom (of God / heaven)

(To view the different translations of this term in a simplified graphical form on a new page, click or tap here.)

The German Good News Bible (Die Bibel im heutigen Deutsch) (1st edition: 1968, 2nd edition: 1982, 3rd edition: 1997) says this about the translation of the Greek expressions that in English are often translated as “kingdom of God” or “kingdom of heaven” respectively:

“An example for how a term evolved is the rendering of ‘heavenly kingdom’ or ‘kingdom of God.’ A verbatim translation will be misunderstood by most readers today: as if it talks about a kingdom that is located in heaven, when in reality it refers in the Bible to God being the ruler, to that area in which that rule has been realized and everything that human beings can expect because of that. Dependent on the context, the term is therefore translated differently in this present version: When it focuses on the presence of God’s kingdom it is rendered as ‘God establishes his rule’ (Gott richtet seine Herrschaft auf), when the focus is on the future it is translated as ‘Once God finalizes his creation (or ‘work’) . . . ‘ (Wenn Gott sein Werk vollendet . . .), and when the focus is on that finished creation it is ‘God’s new world’ (Gottes neue Welt).” (p. 299)

The respective translation choice in that German translation:

Likewise in the Gurung translation the term was also, depending on context, rendered in four different ways:

  • God’s power at work in the world,
  • the personal response to God, in obedience and receiving blessing,
  • God’s future open ruling of the world,
  • the ultimate blessings of God’s rule in heaven.

(Source: Warren Glover in The Bible Translator 1978, p. 231ff. — here you can also find a comprehensive list of examples where which translation was applied.)

Following is a list of (back-) translations from other languages:

  • Tzeltal: “persons like these will reach God’s government” (as in Mark 10:14 and Luke 18:16: “the Kingdom of God belongs to those”) or “the jurisdiction of God” (in the sense of where God has the authority)
  • Copainalá Zoque: “like God to rule over”
  • San Miguel El Grande Mixtec: “agree to God reigning over”
  • Kekchí: “power (or authority) of God”
  • Laka: “God’s commanding”
  • Javanese: “the rule of God”
  • Huave: “where God rules”
  • Huastec: “God as ruler”
  • San Blas Kuna: “God’s government”
  • Navajo: “what God has charge of”
  • Sayula Popoluca: “to have God rule over”
  • Tzotzil: “to have God as chief”
  • Highland Puebla Nahuatl: “the leadership of God”
  • Wayuu: “where God is chief” (this and examples above in Bratcher / Nida)
  • Fuyug “God’s clan”
  • Mono: “sana lala’aha nang” – “area of chiefly rule”
  • Martu Wangka: “The Father looks after his own relatives” (source for this and the two preceding: Carl Gross)
  • Caribbean Javanese: Kratoné Allah (“God’s seat (of a king)”)
  • Sranan Tongo: Tiri fur Gado (“the Ruling of God”) or Kownukondre fur Gado (“King’s land of God”)
  • Eastern Maroon Creole: A Nyun Tii fu Massa Gadu / Saramaccan: Di Njunjun Tii u Gadu (both: “the New ruling of God”) (source for this and 2 above: Jabini 2015)
  • Umiray Dumaget Agta: “protectorate of God” (source: M. Larson / B. Moore in Notes on Translation February 1970, p. 1-125.)
  • Lalana Chinantec: “how God is the boss of people’s hearts”
  • Chichimeca-Jonaz: “God rules as chief”
  • Chuj: “everything which is in God’s hand” (source for this and two above: Viola Waterhouse in Notes on Translation August 1966, p. 86ff.)

In Mairasi, a language “where people would rather say something in a new way than in an old way,” there are a number of translations, including “Great Above One’s (=God) rule,” “His power,” “His control,” or “His place of authority/power.” (Source: Enggavoter 2004)

In Q’anjob’al, the translators stumbled on an additional difficulty. Newberry and Kittie Cox (in The Bible Translator 1950, p. 91ff.) explain: “‘The kingdom of God’ may be translated ‘where God supervises’ (or literally ‘guards’). However, in Mark 10:15 and Luke 18:17 it is not possible to speak of ‘receiving the kingdom of God,’ for this would imply that one simply takes over the responsibility for guarding God’s country while He rests. Accordingly, the translation is adapted to meet the cultural and linguistic requirements of the language by the form ‘receive God as king.’

See also your kingdom come.

son of encouragement

The Greek that is translated as “son of encouragement” in English is translated as “one who makes people receive a helpful word” in Ojitlán Chinantec, “the person who makes our hearts be at peace” in Lalana Chinantec, “he will encourage us” in Isthmus Mixe, “one who enlarges (encourages) hearts” in Chichimeca-Jonaz, “one who comforts” in San Mateo del Mar Huave, “one who consoles people” in Tzotzil, and “gives gladness to those who weep” in Desano. (Source: Viola Waterhouse in Notes on Translation August 1966, p. 86ff.)

boat, ship

The Greek that is translated “boat” or “ship” in English is translated in Chichimeca-Jonaz as “that with which we can walk on water” (source: Ronald D. Olson in Notes on Translation January, 1968, p. 15ff.).

In Kouya it is translated as ‘glʋ ‘kadʋ — “big canoe.”

Philip Saunders (p. 231) explains how the Kouya team arrived at that conclusion:

“Acts chapter 27 was a challenge! It describes Paul’s sea voyage to Italy, and finally Rome. There is a storm at sea and a shipwreck on Malta, and the chapter includes much detailed nautical vocabulary. How do you translate this for a landlocked people group, most of whom have never seen the ocean? All they know are small rivers and dugout canoes.

“We knew that we could later insert some illustrations during the final paging process which would help the Kouya readers to picture what was happening, but meanwhile we struggled to find or invent meaningful terms. The ‘ship’ was a ‘big canoe’ and the ‘passengers’ were ‘the people in the big canoe’; the ‘crew’ were the ‘workers in the big canoe’; the ‘pilot’ was the ‘driver of the big canoe’; the ‘big canoe stopping place’ was the ‘harbour’, and the ‘big canoe stopping metal’ was the ‘anchor’!”

See also harbor, anchor, and sailor.