snow (color)

The Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic that is translated in English as “(as white as) snow” is translated in San Miguel El Grande Mixtec as “(as white as) volcano frost,” the only white kind of frost that is known in that language. (Source: Nida 1947, p. 160.)

In Obolo it is translated as abalara: “white cloth” (source: Enene Enene), in Bambam as “like the white of cotton” (source: Phil Campbell in Kroneman 2004, p. 500), and in Muna as “white like cotton flowers” (source: René van den Berg).

See also frost.

bread of life

The Greek that is translated in English is translated in Bambam as “food of life” since “bread is considered a light and unnecessary snack.” (Source: Phil Campbell in Kroneman 2004, p. 500) Similarly, Huehuetla Tepehua has “that food that gives eternal life” and Aguaruna has “the food that gives eternal life.” (Source: M. Larson / B. Moore in Notes on Translation February 1970, p. 1-125)

In Chol, it is translated as Joñon Wajo, the “waj (tortilla) of life.” John Beekman (in The Bible Translator 1962, p. 180f.) explains: “The word ‘bread’ in Scripture primarily occurs as either a specific term for bread (including the Lord’s Supper), or as a generic term for food. It is not surprising, however, the some aboriginal groups use something other than bread as the staff of life. The Chols, with their cultural focus in the cultivation of corn, use waj, a type of thin corn flake. Since a meal is not complete without this main item of food, the term has been extended to include any other foods which may be served along with waj. While bread is known to them, its use is limited to a few occasions during the year when it functions as a dessert. In translating this term in the Chol New Testament, consistent use has been made of the word waj whenever the function of bread as a basic food was in focus. John 6:35, “I am the bread of life,” was thus translated with this word. If the word for bread had been used, it was feared that the Chol would compare Christ to the desirable, but not absolutely necessary, dessert.”

now that I am old (past child-bearing age)

The Hebrew that is translated as “(shall I indeed bear a child,) now that I am old?” in English is translated in Bambam as inde yabo palempämä’: “here up at the branch off from the main water source” (note that the one word “palempämä’” means “branch-from-main-water-source”). (Source: Phil Campbell in Kroneman 2004, p. 502)

See also heal (from infertility).

come to me all you who are weary and burdened

The Greek that is translated in English as “come to me, all you who are weary and burdened” is translated in Bambam as “Come-here all of you who are tired and who carry a heavy load of traditions on their head related-to religion.” (Source: Phil Campbell in Kroneman 2004, p. 526)

wise as serpents

The Greek that is translated in English as “wise as serpents” is translated in Bambam as “take-guard like a langkasi (= a small animal similar to a squirrel).”

Phil Campbell explains: “The Bambam people just could not connect with the snakes as being shrewd, but they have a lot of traditional folk tales of a shrewd squirrel-like-animal. We did add a footnote to explain the literal meaning in the original.”

In Komba, the extended phrase that is translated in English as “be wise as serpents and innocent as doves” was translated as “live without falsity and with wisdom and straightness” since “the picture was too strange.” (Source: Deibler / Taylor 1977, p. 1076f.)

cardinal directions / left and right

The Hebrew text that gives instructions where to place items in the tabernacle with the help of cardinal directions (north and south) had to be approached in the Bambam translation specific to spacial concepts of that culture.

Phil Campbell explains: “There are no words in Bambam for north and south. In Exodus 26:35, God instructs that the table is to be placed on the north side and the lamp on the south side inside the tabernacle. The team wants to use right and left to tell where the lamp and table are located. In many languages we would say that the table is on the right and the lampstand is on the left based on the view of someone entering the tabernacle. However, that is not how Bambam people view it. They view the placement of things and rooms in a building according to the orientation of someone standing inside the building facing the front of the building. So that means the table is on the left side and the lampstand is on the right side.”

See also cardinal directions (north, south, east, west).