wild honey

The Greek that is translated as “wild honey” in English was difficult to translate in Toba and Iyojwa’ja Chorote.

Bill Mitchell (in Omanson 2001, p. 435) explains why: “Unlike urban, industrialized society, the indigenous way of life is inextricably linked with the land. A deep relationship with nature permeates all of life. This can sometimes be seen in the wealth of vocabulary for certain items. Mark 1:6 and Matthew 3:4 state that John the Baptist ate ‘wild honey.’ The Tobas of northern Argentina have ten different words for ‘wild honey,’ the Chorotes have seven or eight. The biblical text does not specify a type of wild honey, but Toba translators live in the Gran Chaco and harvest wild honey. They want to use the exact word; they do not have a generic term.”

In both cases the translators ended up using the most common term for “wild honey.”

In Balinese, “wild honey” is translated as “honey of bees who shut out the sun” (source: J.L. Swellengrebel in The Bible Translator 1950 p. 75ff.) and in Shipibo-Conibo as “bee liquid” (source: James Lauriault in The Bible Translator 1951, p. 32ff.).

glorify God

The Greek that is translated as “glorify God” in English is rendered as “to wake God up” in Guerrero Amuzgo.

Other translations are “say that God is very great” (Central Tarahumara), “how good God is, they said” (Tzotzil), “to speak about God as good” (Tzeltal), “to give God a great name” (Highland Puebla Nahuatl), “to give God highness” (Kipsigis), “to take God out high” (in the sense of “to exalt”) (Huautla Mazatec), “to make great, to exalt” (Toraja-Sa’dan, Javanese), “to lift up God’s brightness” (Kpelle), “to show God to be great” (Central Pame), “to make God shine” (Wayuu), “to make God’s name big” (Huastec), “to make God important” (Isthmus Zapotec) (source for this and above: Bratcher / Nida), or “say to God: You are of good heart” (Huichol) (source: Nida 1964, p. 228).

In Waama this is translated as “make God’s name big.” (For the translation into Waama, five categories of verb doxazo and the noun doxa were found that were all translated differently, see glorify (reveal God’s or Jesus’ glory to people)).

In Shipibo-Conibo it is translated as “to brag about God” (“This may strike some at first as being an unspiritual approach, but it surely is Pauline, for Paul used the word ‘to brag’ when he declared his confidence in Jesus Christ and in the salvation of the world which God wrought through His Son.”) (Source: Nida 1952, p. 162)

father of lies

The Greek that is translated in English as “father of lies” or similar is translated as “(he is the one) who causes people to lie” in Asháninka, “chief of liars” in Shipibo-Conibo, “originator of lies” in Xicotepec De Juárez Totonac, and “all liars originate from the devil” in Chol. (Source: John Beekman in Notes on Translation 12, November 1964, p. 1ff.)

pride

The Greek that is translated as “pride” in English is translated as “they continually boast” (Amganad Ifugao), “they lift themselves up” (Tzeltal), “they answer haughtily” (Yucateco) (source: Bratcher / Nida), “an unbent neck” (like llamas) (Kaqchikel) (source: Nida 1952, p. 151), or “those that praise themselves, saying: We are better” (Shipibo-Conibo) (source: Nida 1964, p. 237).

after my heart

The Greek that is translated as “(man) after my 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 “inferno” 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).

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.