cares of the world, worries of this age

The Greek that is translated as “worries (or: cares) of the world (or: this age)” in English is (back-) translated in a number of ways:

  • Kekchí: “they think very much about these days now”
  • Farefare: “they begin to worry about this world-things”
  • Tzeltal: “their hearts are gone doing what they do when they pass through world” (where the last phrase is an idiomatic equivalent for “this life”
  • Mitla Zapotec and San Mateo del Mar Huave: “they think intensely about things in this world”
  • Eastern Highland Otomi and Pamona: “the longing for this world”
  • Tzotzil: “they are very occupied about things in the world”
  • Central Tarahumara: “they are very much afraid about what will happen in the world”
  • Shilluk: “the heavy talk about things in the world”

See also end of the age / end of the world.

tradition

The Greek that is translated as “tradition” in English is translated in Kekchí as “the old root-trunk” (in which the life of a people is likened to a tree), in Central Tarahumara, as “to live as the ancients did,” in North Alaskan Inupiatun as “sayings passed down from long-ago times,” in Navajo as “what their fathers of old told them to follow,” in Toraja-Sa’dan as “the ordinance maintained by the forefathers,” in Tzeltal as “word that has been kept from the ancients” (source for this and all above Bratcher / Nida), and in Gumuz as “the life of your fathers” (source: Loren Bliese).

In Obolo it is translated as orọmijọn̄: “the deeds of the ground” (source: Enene Enene).

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)

go in peace

The Hebrew and Greek that is translated as “go in peace” into English is an idiomatic expression of farewell which is translatable in other languages as an idiomatic expression as well: “go with sweet insides” (Shilluk), “rejoice as you go” (Central Mazahua), “go in quietness of heart” (Chol), “go happy” (Highland Puebla Nahuatl), “being happy, go” (Central Tarahumara), or “go and sit down in your heart” (Tzeltal).

amazed, astonished, marvel

The Greek that is translated as “astonished” or “amazed” or “marvel” in English is translated in Pwo Karen as “stand up very tall.” (In John 5:20, source: David Clark)

Elsewhere it is translated as “confusing the inside of the head” (Mende), “shiver in the liver” (Uduk, Laka), “to lose one’s heart” (Mískito, Tzotzil), “to shake” (Southern Bobo Madaré), “to be with mouth open” (Panao Huánuco Quechua) (source: Bratcher / Nida), “to stand with your mouth open” (Citak) (source: Stringer 2007, p. 120), “ceasing to think with the heart” (Bulu), or “surprise in the heart” (Yamba) (source for this and one above: W. Reyburn in The Bible Translator 1959, p. 1ff.).

In Mark 5:20 and elsewhere where the astonishment is a response to listening to Jesus, the translation is “listened quietly” in Central Tarahumara, “they forgot listening” (because they were so absorbed in what they heard that they forgot everything else) in San Miguel El Grande Mixtec, “it was considered very strange by them” in Tzeltal (source: Bratcher / Nida), “in glad amazement” (to distinguish it from other kinds of amazement) (Quetzaltepec Mixe) (source: Robert Bascom), or “breath evaporated” (Mairasi) (source: Enngavoter 2004).

spirit / flesh

The Greek terms that are translated “spirit” and “flesh” are a fundamental contrast, but one which is variously expressed in different languages. Often, however, “spirit” is equivalent to “heart” (Eastern Highland Otomi, Loma, Guerrero Amuzgo, Highland Puebla Nahuatl), and “flesh” may be rendered as “body” (Guerrero Amuzgo, Highland Puebla Nahuatl, Tzeltal) or “you yourself” (Central Tarahumara).

The following translations are illustrative of the contrastive expressions: “your hearts are ready but your bodies are weak” (Highland Puebla Nahuatl), “your heart is strong but you yourselves are not strong” (Central Tarahumara), “your heart has strength, but your body does not have strength” (Tzeltal), “your heart desires to do good, but your heart is weak,” in which “heart” must be used in both clauses since it not only stands for the center of the personality, but is also the symbol of typical human nature (Loma). (Source for this and all above Bratcher / Nida)

In Guhu-Samane an idiomatic expression with “your desire is there, but sleep has slain your body” is used. (Source: Ernest Richert in Notes on Translation December 1963: p. 4-7; reprinted in The Bible Translator 1965, p. 198ff.)

parable

The Greek that is translated as “parable” in English is translated in other languages in a number of ways:

See also image and figures of speech.

complete verse (Romans 1:3)

Following are a number of back-translations of Romans 1:3:

  • Uma: “That Good News tells who the Child of God is, our Lord Yesus Kristus. According to his birth as mankind, Yesus is the descendant of King Daud of old. But that Yesus is also the Child of God, for he is holy the same as God. That is clear because God caused him to live again, and with that amazing sign he made-clear that he indeed is the Child of God.” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “This good news is about God’s Child/Son, Isa Almasi, our (incl.) Leader. He was born in the world a descendant of King Da’ud when he was a human being.” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “This is the news about our Lord Jesus Christ, son of God. And as for this Jesus, he became a human for he was born as a descendant of the long ago King David.” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “What this good news talks-about, it is his Child Jesu Cristo who is our Lord. As concerning his personhood, he was a descendant of King David.” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tenango Otomi: “This good news tells about our Lord Jesus Christ, the son of God. It tells that he became a person, and tells that he is the descendant of the ruler David.” (Source: Tenango Otomi Back Translation)
  • Isthmus Zapotec: “This gospel teaches us of His son who came from among the children (family) of David at the time when he came to be a person of this world, and He is Jesus Christ our Lord.”
  • Central Tarahumara: “And this very Good Word of God speaks advising us about the Son of God, who is our Lord Jesus Christ. And here in the world Jesus Christ was born as a baby boy. And he was born as one of David’s grandsons like.” (Source: Waterhouse / Parrott in Notes on Translation October 1967, p. 1ff.)
  • Hausa: “This gospel is about his Son Jesus Christ our Lord it is. By human he is from the tribe of David,” (Source: Hausa Common Language Back Translation)

complete verse (Romans 1:4)

Following are a number of back-translations of Romans 1:4:

  • Uma: “That Good News tells who the Child of God is, our Lord Yesus Kristus. According to his birth as mankind, Yesus is the descendant of King Daud of old. But that Yesus is also the Child of God, for he is holy the same as God. That is clear because God caused him to live again, and with that amazing sign he made-clear that he indeed is the Child of God.” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “But he is really God. By God’s power it is clear that he truly is the Child of God because he was made alive again from his death.” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “As for Jesus Christ our Lord, he is the holy God because he is also the son of God, because this was shown to us by means of the great power of God which was used to raise him from the dead.” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “Concerning also his holy godhood, God showed that he was his Child when he made-him-alive again by-means-of his power.” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tenango Otomi: “But concerning the holy soul of Jesus Christ, it clearly is apparent that he is not just a person, it is strongly apparent that he is the Son of God, because he resurrected after he died.” (Source: Tenango Otomi Back Translation)
  • Central Tarahumara: “And the Very Good Spirit, God’s Spirit, raised up Jesus Christ when he was already dead. And all of the people were thus truly shown that Jesus Christ is the only Son of God.”
  • Central Mazahua : “The Spirit which comes from God caused him to arise when he had died. Thus it was made known powerfully that he is the Son of God. This is Jesus Christ who is our Lord.”
  • Chicahuaxtla Triqui: “But Christ is Son of God according to his spirit because his spirit is entirely good. And God himself has shown that Jesus is his very Son. And very powerfully did God with him when he rose from among the dead by God’s agency. And Jesus Christ has become the Lord who has authority over us.” (Source for this and two above: Waterhouse / Parrott in Notes on Translation October 1967, p. 1ff.)

complete verse (Romans 1:5)

Following are a number of back-translations of Romans 1:5:

  • Uma: “By the lips of that Yesus, God gave me a big blessing, appointing [lifting] me as his apostle [messenger], so that I take the Good News to people all over the world, teaching them to believe and submit to the Lord Yesus, so that the name of Yesus is made-big.” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “Because of Isa Almasi I was given work/doing by God. I was commissioned by him to proclaim the good news so that there would be some from all nations/peoples/tribes that I would carry/influence to be people trusting and following/obeying Isa Almasi so that he can-be-praised/is-praised.” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “Through Christ sending me, I was given wisdom and God made me an apostle, which is to say, send one, in order that Jesus might be honored. The reason that he did this was so that I might teach the people who aren’t Jews in the towns everywhere, so that they might obey and believe Jesus Christ.” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “Because of him, God showed-me -kindness/grace and made me an apostle so that I would persuade people in all countries/towns to believe and obey Cristo so that he would be praised/honored.” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tenango Otomi: “Jesus Christ did me the favor of giving me the work of being his representative. He wants that in whatever land I tell the good news to the people and that they will believe, they will do what it says. By this then the people will praise Jesus Christ.” (Source: Tenango Otomi Back Translation)
  • Hopi: “Because of Him, God through his pity sent me to preach in order that I might speak the good message to all people in order to persuade some. And then they will walk according to our beliefs. In doing this I make Jesus Christ very big.”
  • Central Mazahua: “Jesus Christ looked on me well. He sent me to do his work, in order that the people in the world will believe-obey, listen-obey him.”
  • Central Tarahumara: “And Jesus Christ very lovingly sent us to preach in his name, so that the people who live in all the world, believing well, should reverence Jesus Christ himself.” (Source for this and two above: Waterhouse / Parrott in Notes on Translation October 1967, p. 1ff.)

Son of Man

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

The Greek that is translated as “Son of Man” and is mostly used by Jesus to refer to himself is (back-) translated in the following languages as (click or tap for details):

  • San Miguel El Grande Mixtec: “I who am a person”
  • Tzotzil: “I who am equal with men” or “The Older Brother of Everybody” (“expressing the dignity and authority of the Messiah and the universality of his work”)
  • Chuj: “I who became human”
  • Terêna: “The True Man”
  • Tenango Otomi: “The Man Appointed” (i.e. the man to whom authority has been delegated) (source for this and preceding: Beekman, p. 189-190, see also Ralph Hill in Notes on Translation February 1983, p. 35-50)
  • Alekano: “the true man”
  • Huehuetla Tepehua: “friend of all men”
  • Tenango Otomi “the Man who came from heaven”
  • Aguaruna: “I the one who was born becoming a person”
  • Yatzachi Zapotec: “I whom God sent, I was born a human.” (source for this and four above: M. Larson / B. Moore in Notes on Translation February 1970, p. 1-125.)
  • Central Tarahumara: “I have been stood up to help” (“This suggests that Christ has been given authority to some appointed task. A very generic word, help, was selected to fill in the lexically obligatory purpose required by the word which means to appoint or commission. Usually this word is used of menial tasks but not exclusively. The choice of this generic term retains the veiled reference to the character of Christ’s work which He intended in using the ‘Son of Man’ title.”)
  • Chicahuaxtla Triqui: “He who is relative of all people.” (“The Triqui word for relative is a rather generic term and in its extended sense sometimes is diluted to neighbor and friend. But the primary meaning is relative.”)
  • Xicotepec De Juárez Totonac: “Sibling of All People”
  • Tepeuxila Cuicatec: “I, the Person who Accompanies All People.” (“The literal equivalents ‘son of man’ and ‘son of people’ were both rejected because of the false inference of natural birth involving a human father. Furthermore, it was necessary to expand any translation of the Bible by the addition of the pronoun ‘I’ so as to clarify the fact that Jesus is using the third person in referring to Himself. A common expression used by the Cuicatecos when difficulties befall someone, is to say to that one, ‘don’t worry, we are accompanying you.’ By this they mean they share that person’s sorrow. When wedding guests arrive at the home of a son who has just been married, they say to the father, ‘We have come to accompany you.’ By this they mean that they have come to share the father’s joy. These expressions do not refer to ordinary physical accompaniment, which is expressed by a set of different verbs. For example, visits are always announced by some such greeting as, “I have come to visit you,’ ‘I have come to see you,’ or ‘I have come to ask you something.’ The desire to accompany a friend on a journey is expressed by saying, ‘I will go with you.’ Translation helpers used the verb ‘accompany’ in constructing the phrase ‘I, the Person who Accompanies All People.'(…) It reflects the fact that Jesus closely identified Himself with all of us, understands our weaknesses, shares our burdens, rejoices with us in times of gladness, etc.”) (source for this and the three preceding: Beekman in Notes on Translation January 1963, p. 1-10)
  • Guhu-Samane: “elder-brother-man” (“Since the term denotes an elder brother in every way such as honor, power, leadership, representation of the younger, etc. it is a meaningful and fitting — though not ostentatious — title.” Source: Ernest Richert in The Bible Translator 1965, p. 198ff.)
  • Avaric: “Son of Adam” (“from Islam, which means ‘human'”) (source: Magomed-Kamil Gimbatov and Yakov Testelets in The Bible Translator 1996, p. 434ff.)
  • Navajo: “Diné Silíi’ii” — “Man he-became-the-one-who” (“This terra presented a difficulty not only in Navajo but also one peculiar to all the Athapaskan languages. It lies in the fact that all these languages, so far as we know, have a word phonetically similar to the Navajo diné which has three meanings: ‘man, people in general,’ ‘a man,’ ‘The People’ which is the name the Navajos use for themselves. (The name Navajo was first used by the Spanish explorers.) Although it seemed natural to say diné biye’ ‘a-man his-son,’ this could also mean ‘The-People their-son’ or ‘a-Navajo his-son,’ in contrast to the son of a white man or of another Indian tribe. Since the concept of the humanity of Christ is so important, we felt that diné biye’ with its three possible meanings should not be used. The term finally decided on was Diné Silíi’ii ‘Man he-became-the-one-who.’ This could be interpreted to mean ‘the one who became a Navajo,’ but since it still would impart the idea of Christ’s becoming man, it was deemed adequate, and it has proven acceptable to the Navajos.”) (Source: Faye Edgerton in The Bible Translator 1962, p. 25ff.)
  • Toraja-Sa’dan: “son (lit. child) descended in the world” (“using a poetic verb, often found in songs that [deal with] the contacts between heaven and earth”) (source: Reiling / Swellengrebel)
  • Obolo: Gwun̄ Ebilene: ” it is translated as itutumu ijo isibi : “Child of Human (source: Enene Enene).
  • Mairasi: Jaanoug Tat: “Person Child” (source: Enggavoter 2004)
  • Costa Rican Sign Language: “It was impossible to translate the expression ‘Son of Man.’ The son-man sign simply means ‘male child.’ The Costa Rican Sign Language (LESCO) team opted for an interpretation of the term and translated it ‘Jesus.'” (Source: Elsa Tamez (in The Bible Translator 2008, p. 59ff.)

In many West African languages, using a third person reference as a first person indicator is common practice with a large range of semantic effects. Languages that use the exact expression “son of man” as a self-reference or reference to another person include Lukpa, Baatonum, Mossi (“son of Adam”), Yoruba (“son of person”), Guiberoua Béte, or Samo. (Source: Lynell Zogbo in: Omanson 2000, p. 167-188.)

In Balinese “we are again bordering on theological questions when we inquire as to which vocabulary shall be used to translate the texts where Jesus speaks of himself as ‘the Son of man.’ One of the fixed rules governing the use of these special vocabularies is that one may never use the deferential terms in speaking of oneself. This would be the extreme of arrogance. Now if one considers the expression ‘Son of man’ primarily as a description of ‘I,’ then one must continually indicate the possessions or actions of the Son of man by Low Balinese words. In doing this the mystery of the expression is largely lost. In any case the vocabulary used in most of the contexts would betray that Jesus means the title for himself.

“However, a distinction can actually be made in Balinese between the person and the exalted position he occupies. For example, the chairman of a judicial body may employ deferential terms when referring to this body and its chairman, without this being taken as an expression of arrogance. Considered from this standpoint, one may translate in such a way that Jesus is understood as using such deferential words and phrases in speaking of himself. The danger is, however, that the unity between his person and the figure of “the Son of man” is blurred by such usage.

“On request, the New Testament committee of the Netherlands Bible Society advised that ‘the sublimity of this mysterious term be considered the most important point and thus High Balinese be used.'”

Source: J.L. Swellengrebel in The Bible Translator 1950, p. 124ff.

In Malay, Barclay Newman reports on the translation of “Today’s Malay Version” (Alkitab Berita Baik) of 1987:

“One of the first things that we did in working through the earlier part of the New Testament was to decide on how we would translate some of the more difficult technical terms. It was immediately obvious that something must be done with the translation of ‘the Son of Man,’ since the literal rendering anak manusia (literally ‘child of a man’) held absolutely no meaning for Malay readers. We felt that the title should emphasize the divine origin and authority of the one who used this title, and at the same time, since it was a title, we decided that it should not be too long a phrase. Finally, a phrase meaning ‘the One whom God has ordained’ was chosen (yang dilantik Allah). It is interesting to note that the newly-begun Common Indonesian (Alkitab Kabar Baik, published in 1985) has followed a similar route by translating ‘the One whom God has chosen’ (yang depilih Allah).”

Source: Barclay Newman in The Bible Translator 1974, p. 432ff.

See also Son of God.