The Greek that is translated in English as “wounds” is translated into Folopa as “nopulu daayale tiki”: “where the clubs stood” (= wounds caused by clubs).

Translator Neil Anderson tells the story on how this was decided:

I knew no word for wounds and I had a difficult time getting one. I said, “The word is for things like sores, but they’re not sores; it’s like injuries, but not accidental.”

They were trying to grasp it. “Read it again,” they said. So I read it again, explaining as I went.

“These thieves had jumped him,” I said, “and he’s down, and now he’s lying there with these . . . problems . . . these results of what was perpetrated upon him. But what’s the word?”

“What did they use on him?”

“I don’t know what they used on him. What does it matter?”

“We have to know what they used on him or we can’t tell you the word.”

“Why not?”

“Because it all depends. If he was speared we say, ‘where the spear stood;’ if he was shot with an arrow we say, where the arrow stood;’ if he was axed we say, ‘where the axe stood.’ You tell us what they used on him and well tell you how to say it.”

Apparently there was no generic word for “wounds” and this was the best we were going to do. The only trouble was, Scripture didn’t tell how it happened. In the original telling, it wasn’t important.

So we tried to figure it out.

“Let’s say it was a spear,” I said.

“Okay,” the old ones said, the ones with the most experience with this kind of thing, “did the man live?”

“Yes, he lived,” I said.

“Then it wasn’t a spear. If it was a spear he would have most likely died.”

“Maybe it was an arrow,” I offered.

“No, if it had been by arrows they would have pulled them out. Does it say anything about pulling arrows out?”

“No. What about a dagger?”

“No,” they said, “if it had been a dagger he probably would have never recovered either.”

“Then what about an ax?”

“No way. If they had axed him that would have been the end of him right then!”

“Well then, maybe they just beat him up with their hands,” I said.

“No,” they protested, “when you do that the person may be covered with lumps and bumps but there’s nothing open, nothing for the Samaritan to pour medicine into.”

“Then you tell me,” I said.

“Well, he was lying there on the road, half dead, bleeding but still alive. He must have been beaten with clubs.” With general agreement on that I wrote it down: nopulu daayale tiki “where the clubs stood.” We were off and moving again.

(Source: Anderson / Moore 2006, p. 165ff.)


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

The Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek terms that are often translated as “worship” (also, “kneel down” or “bow down”) are likewise translated in other languages in certain categories, including those based on physical activity, those which incorporate some element of “speaking” or “declaring,” and those which specify some type of mental activity.

Following is a list of (back-) translations (click or tap for details):

  • Javanese: “to prostrate oneself before”
  • Malay: “to kneel and bow the head”
  • Kaqchikel: “to kneel before”
  • Loma (Liberia): “to drop oneself beneath God’s foot”
  • Tepeuxila Cuicatec: “to wag the tail before God” (using a verb which with an animal subject means “to wag the tail,” but with a human subject)
  • Tzotzil: “to join to”
  • Kpelle: “to raise up a blessing to God”
  • Kekchí: “to praise as your God”
  • Cashibo-Cacataibo: “to say one is important”
  • San Blas Kuna: “to think of God with the heart”
  • Rincón Zapotec: “to have one’s heart go out to God”
  • Tabasco Chontal: “to holy-remember” (source of this and all above: Bratcher / Nida)
  • Alur: rwo: “complete submission, adoration, consecration” (source: F. G. Lasse in The Bible Translator 1956, p. 22ff.)
  • Obolo: itọtọbọ ebum: “expressing reverence and devotion” (source: Enene Enene)
  • Ngäbere: “to cut oneself down before” (“This figure of speech comes from the picture of towering mahoganies in the forest which, under the woodman’s ax, quiver, waver, and then in solemn, thunderous crashing bury their lofty heads in the upstretched arms of the surrounding forest. This is the experience of every true worshiper who sees ‘the Lord, high and lifted up.’ Our own unworthiness brings us low. As the Valientes say, ‘we cut ourselves down before’ His presence. Our heads, which have been carried high in self-confidence, sink lower and lower in worship.)
  • Tzeltal: “ending oneself before God.” (“Only by coming to the end of oneself can one truly worship. The animist worships his deities in the hope of receiving corresponding benefits, and some pagans in Christendom think that church attendance is a guarantee of success in this life and good luck in the future. But God has never set a price on worship except the price that we must pay, namely, ‘coming to the end of ourselves.'”) (Source of this and the one above: Nida 1952, p. 163)
  • Folopa: “dying under God” (“an idiom that roughly back-translates “dying under God” which means lifting up his name and praising him and to acknowledge by everything one does and thanks that God is superior.”) (Source: Anderson / Moore, p. 202)
  • Chokwe: kuivayila — “to rub something on” (“When anyone goes into the presence of a king or other superior, according to native law and custom the inferior gets down on the ground, takes a little earth in the fingers of his right hand, rubs it on his own body, and then claps his hands in homage and the greeting of friendship. It is a token of veneration, of homage, of extreme gratitude for some favor received. It is also a recognition of kingship, lordship, and a prostrating of oneself in its presence. Yet it simply is the applicative form of ‘to rub something on oneself’, this form of the verb giving the value of ‘because of.’ Thus in God’s presence as king and Lord we metaphorically rub dirt on ourselves, thus acknowledging Him for what He really is and what He has done for us.”) (Source: D. B. Long in The Bible Translator 1952, p. 87ff.)

In Luang it is translated with different shades of meaning:

  • For Mark 15:19 and Matt. 2:8 and 2:11: “uh’idma-rrama llia’ara” — “to kiss the fingernail and lick the heel”
  • For Acts 16:14: ra’uli-rawedi — “to praise-talk about”
  • For Acts 14:15, 15:20, 17:16, 17:25: hoi-tani — “serve right hand – serve left”
  • For Acts 13:16 and 13:26: una-umta’ata — “respect-fear”
  • For 2 Thess. 2:4: kola tieru awur nehla — “hold waist – hug neck”

Source: Kathy Taber in Notes on Translation 1/1999, p. 9-16.