after my heart

The Greek and Hebrew that is translated as “(man) after my (or: his) heart” in English is translated in a number of ways:

See also complete verse (Acts 13:22).

I came that they might have life and have it abundantly

The Greek that is translated as “I came that they might have life, and have it abundantly” or similar in English has been translated in a a variety of ways:

  • Huehuetla Tepehua: “I came so that people might have life, and that they might be happy in their lives.”
  • Aguaruna: “But I, on the other hand, came saying ‘That they might live; that they might live contentedly, lacking nothing.'”
  • Yatzachi Zapotec: “I came in order to give eternal life and so that they would be extremely happy.”
  • Shipibo-Conibo: “I have come so that the sheep will live, and so that they will live very well.”
  • Asháninka: “I came to give them life, to really give them all life.”
  • Yanesha’: “For this I came, so that you will live, completely exceedingly.”
  • Xicotepec De Juárez Totonac: “I have come in order to give them their new life, which is better life.” (Source for this and above: John Beekman in Notes on Translation 12, November 1964, p. 1ff.)

hell

The Greek that is translated in English versions as “hell” (or “Gehenna”) is translated (1) by borrowing a term from a trade or national language (this is done in a number of Indian languages in Latin America, which have borrowed Spanish “infierno” — from Latin “infernus”: “of the lower regions”), (2) by using an expression denoting judgment or punishment, e.g. “place of punishment” (Loma), “place of suffering” (Highland Totonac, San Blas Kuna) and (3) by describing a significant characteristic: (a) the presence of fire or burning, e.g. “place of fire” (Kipsigis, Mossi), “the large bonfire” (Shipibo-Conibo), or (b) the traditionally presumed location, e.g. “the lowest place” (a well-known term in Ngäbere), “the place inside” long used to designate hell, as a place inside the earth (Aymara). (Source for this and above: Bratcher / Nida)

In Nyongar it is translated as Djinbaminyap or “Punishing place” (source: Warda-Kwabba Luke-Ang).

I am the way

The Greek that is translated as “I am the way” is translated as “I am the road to heaven” in Xicotepec De Juárez Totonac, “I am the path by which you go” in Shipibo-Conibo, “I am the one who will guide you” in Asháninka, and “Because of me you will arrive to where God is” in Tenango Otomi. (Source: John Beekman in Notes on Translation 12, November 1964, p. 1ff.)

Upper Guinea Crioulo does not use definite articles. So in that language it says: “I (emph.) am way/road” and likewise: “I am truth, I am life.” (Source: David Frank)

hypocrite

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

The Greek and Hebrew terms that are translated as “hypocrite” in English typically have a counterpart in most languages. According to Bratcher / Nida (1961, p. 225), they can be categorized into the following categories:

  • those which employ some concept of “two” or “double”
  • those which make use of some expression of “mouth” or “speaking”
  • those which are based upon some special cultural feature
  • those which employ a non-metaphorical phrase

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

The English version of Sarah Ruden (2021) uses “play-actor.” She explains (p. li): “A hupokrites is fundamentally an actor. The word has deep negativity in the Gospels on two counts: professional actors were not respectable people in the ancient world, and traditional Judaism did not countenance any kind of playacting. I write ‘play-actor’ throughout.”

See also hypocrisy.

Son of God

The Greek that is translated as “Son of God” in English is translated in Shipibo-Conibo as “God’s Child” and in Garifuna as “God’s offspring.” (Source: M. Larson / B. Moore in Notes on Translation February 1970, p. 1-125.)

Nida (1984, p. 113) remarks on this “It was a common expression in Hebrew to say that someone was the ‘Son of…’ something to express that they shared characteristics with that thing etc. E.g. ‘son of peace’ ‘son of thunder.’ Therefore ‘Son of God’ meant that Jesus shared characteristics with God. This wasn’t carried over into Greek and was interpreted more biologically.”

In San Mateo Del Mar Huave it is translated as “Son of Father God,” where “Father” is a term of respect. (Source: B. Moore / G. Turner in Notes on Translation 1967, p. 1ff.)

See also Son of Man and Sons of Thunder.

blameless

The Greek that is translated as “blameless” in English is translated as “no one could scold them” in Shipibo-Conibo or “without missing one thing of the law” in Sranan Tongo.

advanced in years

The Greek that is translated as “advanced in years” in English, referring to both Elizabeth and Zacharias, encountered “special problems in Shipibo-Conibo, which counts age by age-grades: baby–child–adolescent–mature–old, with sex-distinction from adolescent on (hence two separate statements must be made), and prefers to use kinship terms instead of pronouns (hence ‘her husband’ must replace ‘he’); this results in ‘that woman was a-little-old-lady, and her husband was a-little-old-man.'”

See also years (age).

beside himself, out of his mind

The Greek that is translated as “beside himself” or “lost his mind” or other variations in English is (back-) translated by the following languages like this:

  • Tzeltal: “his head had been touched” (“an expression to identify what might be called the half-way stage to insanity”)
  • Amganad Ifugao: “he acts as though he were crazy”
  • Shilluk: “he is acting like an imbecile”
  • Shipibo-Conibo: “his thoughts have gone out of him”
  • Pamona: “he is outside his senses”
  • Indonesian: “he is not by his reason”

cast lots

The Greek that is translated as “casting” or “drawing lots” in English is often translated with a specific idiom, such as “to take out bamboo slips” — 掣 籤 chè qiān (in most Chinese Bibles), “each to pick-up which is-written (i.e. small sticks inscribed with characters and used as slots)” (Batak Toba), a term for divination by means of reed stalks (Toraja-Sa’dan).

In some cases a cultural equivalent is not available, or it is felt to be unsuitable in this situation, e.g. in Ekari where “to spin acorns” has the connotation of gambling, one may have to state the fact without mentioning the means, e.g. “it came to him,” (source for this and all above: Reiling / Swellengrebel). In Shipibo-Conibo there was no equivalent for “casting lots” so the translation for Mark 15:24 is descriptive: “they shook little things to decide what each one should take” (source: Nida 1952, p. 47).

Other solutions include:

  • Purari: “throw shells” (source: David Clark)
  • Kwara’ae (in Acts 1:26) “they played something like dice to find out who of the two God chose (God revealed his will that way)” (source: Carl Gross)
  • Navajo: “draw straws”
  • Yatzachi Zapotec “raffle”
  • Chol “choose by a game” (source for this and above: M. Larson / B. Moore in Notes on Translation February 1970, p. 1-125)
  • Chichimeca-Jonaz: “threw one or two little hard things that had a sign…to see which person it would be”
  • Kekchí: “tried with luck
  • Lalana Chinantec: “there were little things they played with that made evident who it would be who would be lucky”
  • Chuj: “entered luck upon them”
  • Ayutla Mixtec: “put out luck” (Source for this and five above: Viola Waterhouse in Notes on Translation August 1966, p. 86ff.)
  • Lacandon: “play with small stones in order to see who was going to win” (source: B. Moore / G. Turner in Notes on Translation 1967, p. 1ff.)

In North Alaskan Inupiatun a term for “gambling” is used. The same Inupiatun term is also used in Esther 3:7, “though there winning and losing is not in view, but rather choosing by chance” (source: Robert Bascom)

The stand-alone term that is translated “lots” in English is translated as “two pieces of potsherd” in Highland Totonac. (Source: Ronald D. Olson in Notes on Translation January, 1968, p. 15ff.)