The Greek that is typically translated as “Peace be with you” in English is translated in Ojitlán Chinantec as “Have peaceful happy hearts,” in Huehuetla Tepehua as “Don’t be sad in your hearts,” in Aguaruna as “Be content,” in Shipibo-Conibo as “Think very good,” in Isthmus Mixe as “Don’t worry,” and in Xicotepec De Juárez Totonac as “May it go well with you.”
(Source: M. Larson / B. Moore in Notes on Translation February 1970, p. 1-125.)
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).
The Greek that is translated in English as “greed” or “covetousness” is translated in Zande as “having a big heart for everything” (source: Jan Sterk).
See also extortioner / swindler.
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”
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.)
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.)
The Greek that is rendered in English as “filled with the Holy Spirit” or “full with the Holy Spirit” is translated in various ways:
- Tboli: “the Holy Spirit shall be with him,”
- Shipibo-Conibo: “the Holy Spirit shall permeate him” (using a term said of medicines)
- Cuyonon: “he shall be under the control of the Holy Spirit” (esp. Luke 4:1, Acts 7:55, Acts 11:24)
- Ngäbere: “the full strength of the Holy Spirit shall stay in him”
- Tae’ (translation of 1933): “he shall carry the Holy Spirit in his inner being” (sourse for this and all above: Reiling / Swellengrebel)
- Yamba and Bulu: “the Holy Spirit filled their hearts” (source: W. Reyburn in The Bible Translator 1959, p. 1ff.)
- Rincón Zapotec: “the Holy Spirit come to be completely with them”
- Eastern Highland Otomi: “they all walked with the Holy Spirit of God”
- Chuj: “God’s Spirit entered into all of them”
- Morelos Nahuatl: “the Holy Spirit entered everyone’s heart to rule”
- Teutila Cuicatec: “God’s Spirit possessed all of them” (Source for this and four above: Viola Waterhouse in Notes on Translation August 1966, p 86ff.)
The following story is relayed by Martha Duff Tripp as she led the translation of the New Testament into Yanesha’ (p. 310):
I continue to work with Casper Mountain [an Yanesha’ translator] on translation. As we start the book of Luke, we run into another problem. In Chapter 1, verse 15, the text reads (speaking of John the Baptist), “and he shall be filled with the Holy Spirit.” The Amueshas [Yanesha’s] have never associated their word for “fill” with anything except pots and baskets. How can a person be “filled”? Even their word for a full stomach is not the word for “fill.” We talk together about what “filled with the Holy Spirit” means (obsessed with or possessed by). The thought comes to me of what the Amueshas [Yanesha’s] say about the shaman. They say that he can “wear” the spirit of the tiger, that they can tell when he is wearing the tiger spirit because he then will act like a tiger. Their word for “wear” is the same word as to “wear or put on a garment.” Can this possibly be the way to say “filled with God’s Spirit”? As I cautiously question Casper about this, his face lights up immediately. “Yes, that is the way we would say it, he is ’wearing’ God’s Holy Spirit.”
See also Holy Spirit.
The Hebrew and the Greek that are translated in English versions as “prophesy” are translated into Anuak as “sing a song” (source: Loren Bliese), into Balanta-Kentohe as “passing on message of God” (source: Rob Koops), and into Ixcatlán Mazatec with a term that does not only refer to the future, but is “speak on behalf of God” (source: Robert Bascom).
Other translations include: “God making someone to show something in advance” (Ojitlán Chinantec), “God causing someone to think and then say it” (Aguaruna), “speaking God’s thoughts” (Shipibo-Conibo), “God made someone say something” “Xicotepec De Juárez Totonac) (source for this and above: M. Larson / B. Moore in Notes on Translation February 1970, p. 1-125), “proclaim God’s message” (Teutila Cuicatec), “speak for God” (Chichimeca-Jonaz), “preach the Word of God” (Lalana Chinantec), “speak God’s words” (Tepeuxila Cuicatec), “that which God’s Spirit will cause them to say they will say” (Mayo) (source for this and four above: Viola Waterhouse in Notes on Translation August 1966, p 86ff.), and “say what God wants people to hear” (tell people God wod dat e gii oona fa say) (Gullah) (source: Robert Bascom).
In Luang it is translated with different shades of meaning:
- For Acts 3:18, 3:21, 3:25: nurwowohora — “mouth says words that don’t come from one’s own mind.” (“This term refers to an individual’s speaking words that are not his because either a good or bad spirit is at work through him. The speaker is not in control of himself.”)
- For Acts 19:6, Acts 21:9: nakotnohora — “talk about.” (“The focus of this term is on telling God’s message for the present as opposed to the future.”)
- For Acts 21:11: rora — “foretell” (“The focus of this term is giving God’s message concerning the future. The person who speaks is aware of what he is doing and he is using his own mind, yet it is with God’s power that he foretells the future.”)
Source: Kathy Taber in Notes on Translation 1/1999, p. 9-16.
The Greek that is translated as “desert” or “wilderness” in English is translated as “a place where noisiness is cut off (or: stops)” in Mairasi, “big barren-field” (pandaso bhalano) in Muna, “uninhabited place” in Wantoat, “where no people dwell” in Umiray Dumaget Agta, “where no house is” (Shipibo-Conibo), and “barren field” (Balinese).
Sources: Mairasi: Enggavoter 2004; Muna: René van den Berg; Wantoat: Holzhausen 1991, p. 38; Umiray Dumaget Agta: Larson 1998, p. 98; Shipibo-Conibo: James Lauriault in The Bible Translator 1951, p. 32ff.; Balinese: J.L. Swellengrebel in The Bible Translator 1950 p. 75ff..
See also wilderness.
The Greek that is translated into English as “care for no man” or “defer to no one” (in the sense of not seeking anyone’s favor) is translated in Tabasco Chontal as “you say the same thing to everyone” and in Shilluk as “you show the same respect to everyone.” In Shipibo-Conibo it is “in your mind no one is anything,” in Chol it is “your heart is equally straight in the presence of all men” and in Tzeltal “it does not matter who — all of us are equal as far as you are concerned.”
The Greek that is translated in English as “turn (back) to” is translated as “turn them round again to” (Santali), “turn-back the minds (of the Israelites) in order to go-in-the-direction-of” (Balinese, “bring forward (to the place someone has left)” (Ekari), “lead cause them turn (and) return come seek” (Thai), and “cause to believe” (Shipibo-Conibo).
See also conversion / convert / turn back
The Greek and Hebrew that is translated as “doubt” in English versions is translated with a term in Tzeltal that means “heart is gone.” (Nida 1952, p. 122)
In other languages it is represented by a variety of idiomatic renderings, and in the majority of instances the concept of duality is present, e.g. “to make his heart two” (Kekchí), “to be with two hearts” (Punu), “to stand two” (Sierra de Juárez Zapotec), “to be two” or “to have two minds” (Navajo), “to think something else” (Tabasco Chontal), “to think two different things” (Shipibo-Conibo), “to have two thoughts” (Yaka and Huallaga Huánuco Quechua), or “two-things-soul” (Yucateco).
In some languages, however, doubt is expressed without reference to the concept of “two” or “otherness,” such as “to have whirling words in one’s heart” (Chol), “his thoughts are not on it” (Baoulé), or “to have a hard heart” (Piro). (Source: Bratcher / Nida, except for Yucateco: Nida 1947, p. 229 and Huallaga Huánuco Quechua: Nida 1952, p. 123)
In Chokwe “kwalajala is ‘to doubt.’ It is the repetitive of kuala, ‘to spread out in order, to lay (as a table), to make (as a bed),’ and is connected with kualula ‘to count.’ [It is therefore like] a person in doubt as one who can’t get a thing in proper order, who lays it out one way but goes back again and again and tries it other ways. It is connected with uncertainty, hesitation, lack of an orderly grasp of the ‘count’ of the subject.” (Source: D. B. Long in The Bible Translator 1952, p. 87ff.)