in the inn

The Greek that is often translated as “laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn” in English versions is translated quite differently in Pintupi-Luritja. Carl Gross explains: “It was explained to the translators that it was not an inn or motel to which they were going, but rather the guest room of their relatives, and there were so many people in town that all their relatives had already allowed other relatives to sleep in their guestrooms. But one of their relatives said they could use the downstairs stable in which the animals sheltered from the cold of the night. In response, the translators came up with: ‘Those two asked in vain their relatives in the town of Bethlehem to lie inside a house. Because many other people had entered and were lying in the houses, those two asked in vain. Having asked in vain, those two lay down on the windbreak-side of a house in a place that belonged to bullocks.'”

what sort of woman

The Greek that is translated as “what sort of woman” or similar in English is translated in Pintupi-Luritja with an idiom for prostitute: “This woman who is sitting here calls men and holds them one by one.”


The Greek that is translated as “angel” in English versions is translated as ngaṉka ngurrara (“one who belongs in the sky”) in Pintupi-Luritja. (Source: Ken Hansen quoted in Steven 1984a, p. 116.)

In Shipibo-Conibo it is translated as “word-carriers from heaven,” in Tetela, Kpelle, Balinese, and Chinese as “heavenly messengers,” in Shilluk “spirit messengers,” in Mashco Piro as “messengers of God,” in Batak Toba as “envoys, messengers,” in Navajo as “holy servants,” (source for this and above: Bratcher / Nida 1961), in Central Mazahua “one of God’s workers” (source: Ronald D. Olson in Notes on Translation January, 1968, p. 15ff.), in Tonga (Zambia) as “messenger from heaven” (source: Loewen 1980, p. 107), in Saramaccan as basia u Masa Gaangadu köndë or “messenger from God’s country” (source: Jabini 2015, p. 86), in Mairasi as atatnyev nyaa or “sent-one” (source: Enggavoter 2004), in Shipibo-Conibo as “word bringer” (source: James Lauriault in The Bible Translator 1951, p. 32ff.), and in Apali as “God’s one with talk from the head” (“basically God’s messenger since head refers to any leader’s talk”) (source: Martha Wade).

See also angel (Acts 12:15).