The Greek that is translated in English as “eternal life” is translated in various ways:
- Berik: “good living forever” (source: Kroneman 2004, p. 536)
- Asháninka: “keep on living”
- Aguaruna: “will always live”
- Yanesha’: “immortal state forever”
- North Alaskan Inupiatun: “endless life”
- Tsafiki: “live forever with God”
- Lalana Chinantec: “heart will be alive forever,” (source for this and five above: M. Larson / B. Moore in Notes on Translation February 1970, p. 1-125)
- Tagalog: buhay na walang hanggan: “life which has no boundary”
- Iloko: biagna nga agnanayon: “continuing life” (source for this and one above: G. Henry Waterman in The Bible Translator 1960, p. 24ff.)
- Huehuetla Tepehua: “life forever up in heaven” (source: Larson 1998, p. 279)
- Kele: loiko: “survival: enduring through crisis, catastrophe and death” (source: William Ford in The Bible Translator 1957, p. 203ff.).
- Highland Totonac: “have life, the kind that is for always”
- Central Mazahua: “live continually” (source for this and above: Waterhouse / Parrott in Notes on Translation October 1967, p. 1ff.)
- Mairasi: “life fruit” (source: Enggavoter 2004).
- Samoan: ola e fa‘avavau or life until the end of time” (source: John Bradshaw in The Bible Translator 1967, p. 75ff.)
Lloyd Peckham explains the Mairasi translation: “In secret stories, not knowable to women nor children, there was a magical fruit of life. If referred to vaguely, without specifying the specific ‘fruit,’ it can be an expression for eternity.”
See also eternity / forever and salvation.
The Greek that is translated into English as “(this) generation” is translated as “the people now” into Chol, “those who are in space now” into Tzeltal or “you people” into Tlahuitoltepec Mixe. (Source: Bratcher / Nida; Mixe: Robert Bascom)
Generic terms for the Greek that is translated as “generation” include “(people of one) layer” (Ekari, Toraja-Sa’dan, Batak Toba), or “one storey of growing” (Highland Totonac, using a term also denoting a storey or floor of a building). (Source: Reiling / Swellengrebel)
See also generations and all generations.
The Greek that is translated as “if God is for us” is translated as “if God is in fellowship with us” in Chicahuaxtla Triqui, “if God does not abandon us” in Miahuatlán Zapotec, as “if God is united with us” in Yatzachi Zapotec, as “God is the one who helps us” in Huehuetla Tepehua, as “God himself loves us” in Teutila Cuicatec, as “if God is in our favor” Isthmus Zapotec, and as “if God is our helper” in Highland Totonac. (Source: Waterhouse / Parrott in Notes on Translation October 1967, p. 1ff.)
(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:
- Highland Totonac, Huautla Mazatec, Lacandon, Cuicatec, Highland Puebla Nahuatl: “two faced”
- Obolo: ebi isi iba: “double-faced person” (source: Enene Enene)
- Tzeltal, Chol: “two hearts”
- Pame: “two mouths”
- San Miguel El Grande Mixtec: “two heads”
- Kekchí: “two sides”
- Shipibo-Conibo: “double (or “forked”) tongue”
- Eastern Highland Otomi: “double talk”
- Huehuetla Tepehua: “to talk false”
- Copainalá Zoque: “to lie-act”
- Kituba, Amganad Ifugao, Chuukese: “to lie”
- Toraja-Sa’dan: “someone whose lips are fair” (i.e. “gracious”)
- Mossi: “to have a sweet mouth”
- Mazahua: “to have a swollen mouth” (from too much speaking)
- Tai Dam: “to have a straight mouth and a crooked heart”
- Kongo: “the bitterness of white” (an idiom based on the fact that white-wash looks nice but tastes bitter)
- Malagasy: “to spread a clean carpet” (an expression used in Madagascar to describe one who covers up the dirt of an unswept floor just before the arrival of guests)
- Zanaki: “those who make themselves out to be good”
- Tetelcingo Nahuatl: “those who deceive” (this and all examples above acc. to Bratcher / Nida 1961, p. 225)
- Kafa: “one who makes as if his belly is clean” (source: Loren Bliese)
- Agatu: ɔcɛ gigbefu — “disguised person acting a part” (source: Mackay, The Bible Translator 1962, 211f)
- Mairasi: “deceiver person” (source: Enggavoter 2004)
- Bauzi: “good on top person” (source: David Briley in Kroneman (2004), p. 502)
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.
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.)
“The word ‘offend’ as a translation of the Greek skandalizó seems to cause all sorts of trouble for translators. The difficulty is that the meaning of this word covers such a wide area. The basic meaning of the Greek is ‘to cause to stumble by putting some impediment in the way.’ The present central meaning of English ‘offend’ is often quite different. In some languages there is no metaphorical value in a translation ‘to cause someone to stumble.’ If the language permits no such metaphor, the translator should not attempt to force it. In Highland Totonac, the metaphor ‘to show the wrong road to’ is used in a manner almost exactly parallel to the Greek idiom.” (Source: Nida 1947)
In San Blas Kuna the translation is “spoil the heart” (source: Claudio and Marvel Iglesias in The Bible Translator 1951, p. 85ff.).
See also fall away, stumble.
The Greek that is translated as “intercede” or similar in English is translated as “speaking in favor of” in Highland Totonac, as “praying to God for” in Chicahuaxtla Triqui, and as “pleading with God for” in Huehuetla Tepehua. (Source: Waterhouse / Parrott in Notes on Translation October 1967, p. 1ff.)
See also intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words and intercede for the saints according to the will of God.
The Greek that is translated as “principalities” or “rulers” in English is translated in various ways:
(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 often rendered in English as “to be converted” or “to turn around” is (back-) translated in a number of ways:
- North Alaskan Inupiatun: “to change completely”
- Purepecha: “to turn around”
- Highland Totonac: “to have one’s life changed”
- Huautla Mazatec: “to make pass over bounds within”
- San Blas Kuna: “turn the heart toward God”
- Chol: “the heart turns itself back”
- Highland Puebla Nahuatl: “self-heart change”
- Pamona: “to turn away from, unlearn something”
- Tepeuxila Cuicatec: “to turn around from the breast”
- Luvale: “to return”
- Balinese: “to put in a new behavior” (compare “repentance“: “to put on a new mind”)
- Tzeltal: “to cause one’s heart to return to God” (compare “repentance”: “to cause one’s heart to return because of one’s sin”)
- Pedi: “to retrace one’s step” (compare “repentance”: “to become untwisted”)
- Uab Meto: “to return” (compare “repentance”: “to turn the heart upside down”)
- Northwestern Dinka: “to turn oneself” (compare “repentance”: “to turn the heart”) (source for this and all above: Bratcher / Nida)
- Central Mazahua: “changing the heart” (compare “repentance”: “turning back the heart”) (source: Nida 1952, p. 40)
- Western Kanjobal: “to molt” (like a butterfly) (source: Nida 1952, p. 136)
- Latvian: atgriezties (verb) / atgriešanās (noun) (“turn around / return”) which is also the same term being used for “repentance” (source: Katie Roth)
- Isthmus Mixe: “look away from the teaching of one’s ancestors and follow the teachings of God”
- Highland Popoluca: “leaving one’s old beliefs to believe in Jesus” (source for thsi and above: Viola Waterhouse in Notes on Translation August 1966, p. 86ff.)
The Greek that is translated as “peace” in English, and like the English can refer to a mental state as well as a lack of strife or absence or cessation of war, needs to be expressed with distinguished terms in other languages. For the meaning of peace when referring to absence of strife, Northern Grebo renders “the palaver has passed,” Highland Totonac “well arranged” (implying reconciliation), Tae’ and Toraja-Sa’dan “being-good-with-each-other” (in Luke 12:51, the 1933 edition of Tae’ has “land and water are well”) or Sranan Tongo “free” (in the sense of “to conclude peace”).
See also peace (absence of conflict).
The Greek that is translated with the capitalized “Father” in English when referring to God is translated in Highland Totonac with the regular word for (biological) father to which a suffix is added to indicate respect. The same also is used for “Lord” when referring to Jesus. (Source: Hermann Aschmann in The Bible Translator 1950, p. 171ff.)
See also Lord.
The Greek that is translated into English versions as “throne” is translated into Naro as ntcõó-q’oo: “he will rule.” The figure of the “throne” cannot be translated in the egalitarian Naro culture, so the idea had to be expressed more explicitly. (Source: Gerrit van Steenbergen)
In other languages it is translated as “stool/seat of the king” (Marathi), “seat of commanding/chieftainship” (Highland Totonac, Kituba), “seat of the Supreme one (lit. of-him-who-has-the umbrella)” (Toraja-Sa’dan — the umbrella being a well-known symbol of power in various parts of South and South-East Asia), “glorious place to sit” (Ekari) (source: Reiling / Swellengrebel), “where God sits and rules” (Estado de México Otomi), “where God reigns” (Central Mazahua) (source: John Beekman in Notes on Translation, March 1965, p. 2ff.), or “bed of kingship” (Kafa) (source: Loren Bliese).