remarkable things, strange things

The Greek that is translated as “remarkable things” or “strange things” in English is translated as “what will be-denied by those who hear it” in Tae’ (version of 1933), “what never yet has happened” in Batak Toba, “things we don’t understand”in Ekari, and “things causing-surprise” in Pohnpeian.

bread of the presence, consecrated bread, showbread

The Greek and Hebrew that is translated as “showbread,” “bread of the presence,” or “consecrated bread” in English is translated as “bread set before the face of God” (Luvale), “loaves which are laid before the face (of God)” (Toraja-Sa’dan) (source for this and above: Bratcher / Nida), “bread to-do-homage” (Tae’), “holy bread” (Pohnpeian, Chuukese), “placed bread” (Ekari), “church-bread” (Sranan Tongo) (source for this and three above: Reiling / Swellengrebel), and mikate yoperekedwa kwa Mulungu or “loaves offered to God” (interconfessional Chichewa translation; source: Wendland 1998, p. 110).

glutton

The Greek that is often translates as “glutton” in English is translated with figurative expressions or descriptive phrases such as “one who has just stomach” (Navajo), “a stomach-for food” (Pohnpeian), “one who eats-much” (Chuukese), or “one who thinks only of eating” (Ekari).

See also glutton (Titus).

came to himself, came to his senses

The Greek that is translated as “he came to himself” or “he came to his senses” is (back-) translated in a number of ways:

  • Sranan Tongo: “he came to get himself”
  • Tzeltal: “his heart arrived”
  • Thai (translation of 1967): “he sensed himself” (implying realization that he had done wrong)
  • Kekchí: “it fell into his heart”
  • Tagalog: “his self came back”
  • Yaka, Chuukese, Pohnpeian: “he came to wisdom (or: became wise)”
  • Kituba: “he understood himself”
  • Uab Meto: “his heart came to life again”
  • Kaqchikel: “he came out of his stupor”
  • Lomwe, Yao: “he was turned, or, aroused (as from sleep), in his heart”
  • Javanese: “he became-aware of his own condition”
  • Kele: “he thought again about his affair” (source for all above: Reiling / Swellengrebel)
  • Mairasi: “his own liver’s sky split” (In Mairasi, the liver is the seat of emotions) (source: Enggavoter 2004)

idle talk, nonsense

The Greek that is translated into English as “nonsense” or “idle tale” is translated as “empty talk” (Uab Meto), “wind talk” (Indonesian), “carried-around story” (Ekari), “purposeless talking” (Kele), “words that-frighten without-reason” (Toraja-Sa’dan), or “talk without foundation” (Pohnpeian, Chuukese) (source for all above: Reiling / Swellengrebel), or “telling a fairy tale” (Mairasi) (source: Enggavoter 2004).

resurrection

The Greek that is translated as “resurrection” in English is translated in Chicahuaxtla Triqui and Pohnpeian as “live-up” (i.e. return to life) (source: Reiling / Swellengrebel) and in Iloko as panagungar: a term that stems “from the word ‘agungar,’ an agricultural term used to describe the coming back to life of a plant which was wilting but which has been watered by the farmer, or of a bulb which was apparently dead but grows again.” (Source: G. Henry Waterman in The Bible Translator 1960, p. 24ff. )

In Estado de México Otomi, it is translated as “people will be raised from the dead,” in Teutila Cuicatec as “the dead having to come to life again,” in San Mateo del Mar Huave as “arose from the grave” (source: Viola Waterhouse in Notes on Translation August 1966, p. 86ff.), and in Kriol as gidap laibala brom dedbala or “get up alive from the dead” (source: Sam Freney in this article .)

sackcloth

The Hebrew or Greek which are translated into English as “sackcloth” are rendered into Chamula Tzotzil as “sad-heart clothes.” (Source: Robert Bascom)

Pohnpeian and Chuukese translate it as “clothing-of sadness,” Eastern Highland Otomi uses “clothing that hurts,” Central Mazahua “that which is scratchy,” and Tae’ and Zarma “rags.” (Source: Reiling / Swellengrebel)

“In Turkana, a woman removes her normal everyday skin clothes and ornaments and wears rather poor skins during the time of mourning. The whole custom is known as ngiboro. It is very difficult to translate putting on sackcloth because even material like sacking is unfamiliar. The Haya, on the other hand, have a mourning cloth made out of the bark of a tree; and the use of this cloth is similar to the Jewish use of sackcloth. It was found that in both the Turkana and Ruhaya common language translations, their traditional mourning ceremonies were used.” (Source: Rachel Konyoro in The Bible Translator 1985, p. 221ff. )

Click or tap here to see a short video clip showing what a sackcloth looked like in biblical times (source: Bible Lands 2012)

See also you have loosed my sackcloth.

bless(ed)

The Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic that is translated into English as “(to) bless” or “blessed” is translated into a wide variety of possibilities.

The Hebrew term barak (and the Aramaic term berak) also (and originally) means “kneel” (a meaning which the word has retained — see Gen. 24:11) and can be used for God blessing people (or things), people blessing each other, or people blessing God. While English Bible translators have not seen a stumbling block in always using the same term (“bless” in its various forms), other languages need to make distinctions (see below).

In Bari, spoken in South Sudan, the connection between blessing and knees/legs is still apparent. For Genesis 30:30 (in English: “the Lord has blessed you wherever I turned”), Bari uses a common expression that says (much like the Hebrew), ‘… blessed you to my feet.'” (Source: P. Guillebaud in The Bible Translator 1965, p. 189ff. .)

Other examples for the translation of “bless” when God is the one who blesses include (click or tap here to see the rest of this insight):

  • “think well of” (San Blas Kuna)
  • “speak good to” (Amganad Ifugao)
  • “make happy” (Pohnpeian)
  • “cause-to-live-as-a-chief” (Zulu)
  • “sprinkle with a propitious (lit. cool) face” (a poetic expression occurring in the priests’ language) (Toraja Sa’dan) (source for this and above: Reiling / Swellengrebel)
  • “give good things” (Mairasi) (source: Enggavoter 2004)
  • “ask good” (Yakan) (source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • “praise, say good things” (Central Yupik) (source: Robert Bascom)
  • “greatly love” (Candoshi-Shapra) (source: John C. Tuggy)
  • “showing a good heart” (Kutu) (source: project-specific translation notes in Paratext)
  • “good luck — have — good fortune — have” (verbatim) ꓶꓼ ꓙꓳ ꓫꓱꓹ ꓙꓳ — ɯa dzho shes zho (Lisu). This construction follows a traditional four-couplet construct in oral Lisu poetry that is usually in the form ABAC or ABCB. (Source: Arrington 2020, p. 58)

In Tagbanwa a phrase is used for both the blessing done by people and God that back-translates to “caused to be pierced by words causing grace/favor” (source: Tagbanwa Back Translation).

Ixcatlán Mazatec had to select a separate term when relating “to people ‘blessing’ God” (or things of God): “praise(d)” or “give thanks for” (in 1 Cor. 10:16) (“as it is humans doing the ‘blessing’ and people do not bless the things of God or God himself the way God blesses people” — source: Robert Bascom). Eastern Bru and Kui also use “praise” for this a God-directed blessing (source: Bru back translation and Helen Evans in The Bible Translator 1954, p. 40ff. ) and Uma uses “appropriate/worthy to be worshipped” (source: Uma back translation).

When related to someone who is blessing someone else, it is translated into Tsou as “speak good hopes for.” In Waiwai it is translated as “may God be good and kind to you now.” (Sources: Peng Kuo-Wei for Tsou and Robert Hawkins in The Bible Translator 1962, pp. 164ff. for Waiwai.)

Some languages associate an expression that originally means “spitting” or “saliva” with blessing. The Bantu language Koonzime, for instance, uses that expression for “blessing” in their translation coming from either God or man. Traditionally, the term was used in an application of blessing by an aged superior upon a younger inferior, often in relation to a desire for fertility, or in a ritualistic, but not actually performed spitting past the back of the hand. The spitting of saliva has the effect of giving that person “tenderness of face,” which can be translated as “blessedness.” (Source: Keith Beavon)

See also bless (food and drink), blessed (Christ in Mark 11:9), and I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse.

See also “Blessed by ‘The Blessing’ in the World’s Indigenous Languages” and Multilingual version of “The Blessing” based on Numbers 6:24-26 .

is acceptable, is welcome

The Greek that is translated as “is acceptable” or “is welcome” in English is translated as “well received” (Sinhala), “to be considered-good” (Tae’), “to be liked” (Sundanese), “to be cherished” (Chuukese), “to be popular” (Pohnpeian), “to be believed with respect” (Kele), or “to be listened to” (Tboli).