complete verse (1John 2:1)

Following are a number of back-translation of 1John 2:1:

Yatzachi Zapotec: “My little children, these things I write you in order that you will not do evil. But if any of us should do evil, there is a person who speaks in favor of us before our father God, he is Jesus Christ the person who walks straight (is righteous).”

Eastern Highland Otomi: “My dear children who are believers, I am writing this paper to you. I’m telling you not to do sin. But if a believer does sin, there is our Helper, who is Jesus Christ, the Good-person, he will speak to the Father about us when we sin.”

Tzotzil: “My children, I wrote thus to you in order that you not anymore sin. If there are those of you who have sinned, remember that Jesus Christ talks for us (on our behalf) before our Father God. He (Jesus Christ) has a straight heart.”

Source: John Beekman in Notes on Translation 12, November 1964, p. 1ff.

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.

vain (worship)

The Greek that is translated into English as “vain” or “in vain” in English is (back-) translated in various ways:

  • Cashibo-Cacataibo: “say I am important, but they do not believe it”
  • Kekchí: “has no meaning when they praise me”
  • Toraja-Sa’dan, Pamona: “uselessly”
  • Copainalá Zoque: “uselessly they remember”
  • Farefare: “their religion is their mouth”
  • Southern Subanen: “their worship has no meaning”
  • Tzotzil: “they say they love me, but this means nothing”
  • Southern Bobo Madaré: “they worship me but they do not mean what they say”
  • Central Mazahua: “it is of no value that they honor me”
  • San Blas Kuna: “their thinking is not in their hearts” (source for this and above: Bratcher / Nida)
  • Mairasi: “tribute of theirs for me [which] will-be-on-their-own” (source: Enggavoter 2004)
  • Guhu-Samane: “with the front teeth of their mouths they worship me” (“‘In vain’ caused puzzlement [because] why should their efforts to worship God produce no results, try as they may? [But the idiom] ‘with the front teeth of their mouths they worship me’ comes from the picture of one who is making a pretense at eating food, hence their deceit is apparent.’ Source: Ernest L. Richert in Notes on Translation December 1963: p. 4-7; reprinted in The Bible Translator 1965, p. 198ff.)

complete verse (1John 3:4)

Following are a number of back-translation of 1John 3:4:

Yatzachi Zapotec: “Each one of us if we (are accustomed to) do evil we do not receive from (obey) the law because the evil we are doing goes contrary to the law.”

Eastern Highland Otomi: “He who does sin, he just disobeys what God says. When we disobey the law of God, it is sin.”

Tzotzil: “If we seek our sin, we break his commandments. When we break his commandments we sin.”

Sayula Popoluca: “Whoever sins, he doesn’t obey God’s law. Because when we sin, we don’t obey God’s law.”

Source: John Beekman in Notes on Translation 12, November 1964, p. 1ff.

complete verse (1John 4:13)

Following are a number of back-translation of 1John 4:13:

Yatzachi Zapotec: “We know that we are constantly with him and he is constantly with us because he sent his Spirit in order that he is in our head-hearts.”

Eastern Highland Otomi: “We know that we live with God, and God resides in our hearts. This we know because he gave us his Good Spirit.”

Tzotzil: “On account of (through) the Holy Spirit that he has given us thus we know that we are in the presence of God. We know also that God is in our hearts.”

Source: John Beekman in Notes on Translation 12, November 1964, p. 1ff.

complete verse (1John 2:12)

Following are a number of back-translation of 1John 2:12:

Yatzachi Zapotec: “I am writing to you my little children because God has already forgiven us. He has forgiven us because Jesus Christ paid for our guilt.”

Eastern Highland Otomi: “I’m writing to you, my dear children, because you know your sins have been forgiven, by what Christ did.”

Tzotzil: “My children, because your sins are forgiven because of Jesus Christ, therefore I am talking to you by letter.”

Source: John Beekman in Notes on Translation 12, November 1964, p. 1ff.

complete verse (1John 3:15)

Following are a number of back-translation of 1John 3:15:

Yatzachi Zapotec: “Any of us if we hate our fellows, before God we are like murderers. And we know that no one who is like that has eternal life.”

Eastern Highland Otomi: “He who hates his sibling is a murderer. And you know that there is no murderer who has (possesses) the new life.”

Tzotzil: “If we hate the brethren, we have already become killers. You know that whoever kills he has not received life forever.”

Source: John Beekman in Notes on Translation 12, November 1964, p. 1ff.

complete verse (1John 5:4)

Following are a number of back-translation of 1John 5:4:

Yatzachi Zapotec: “If we are God’s children we endure to draw away from the evil which is here in the world so it does not win out over us. And because we trust in Jesus Christ, therefore we endure to draw away from the evil which is in this world so it does not win out over us.”

Eastern Highland Otomi: “Because whoever is born anew of God, overcomes the world. And we overcome the world by our faith.”

Tzotzil: “Because we have been born again in the presence of God, therefore all that is here in the world has been conquered by us. On account of our faith (its believing our hearts) is conquered by us all that is here in the world.”

Source: John Beekman in Notes on Translation 12, November 1964, p. 1ff.

rhetorical questions (John 7:51)

During the translation of the New Testament into Huixtán Tzotzil, translation consultant Marion Cowan found that questions where the answer is obvious, affirmative rhetorical questions, as well questions raising objections tended to cause confusion among the readers. So these are rendered as simple or emphatic statements.

Accordingly, John 7:51 reads “Thus says our law that first we ask the one who is to be judged, first we find out what sin he has committed.”

Source: Marion Cowan in The Bible Translator 1960, p. 123ff.

adjure (by God), implore (by God)

The Greek that is translated into English as “(I) implore (or: adjure) (you) by God” is translated as “tell you before God” (Copainalá Zoque), “ask in front of God” (Huautla Mazatec) “ask you by God” (Eastern Highland Otomi), “ask you in God’s presence” (Southern Subanen), “I swear, calling on the name of God, requesting you” (Toraja-Sa’dan), “I want your oath by God” (Indonesian), “will assure me by using a curse on yourself calling on the name of God” (Pamona), and “ask you; God has seen it” (Tzotzil).

complete verse (1John 1:1)

Following are a number of back-translation of 1John 1:1:

Yatzachi Zapotec: “We proclaim to you (plural) about Jesus Christ the person who is the Word, he who gives eternal life. He was already present when the world began. We heard his words, we saw him and we looked at him and we touched him.”

Eastern Highland Otomi: “I will tell you about the Word that gives new life to our hearts. The Word was already living at the very beginning. He is one and the same Jesus Christ whom we saw living here, and we heard what he said. Also we watched him with our eyes, and we touched him with our hands.”

Tzotzil: “The one whose character is he is, (was from the beginning) we heard his words. We saw him. Many times we looked at his face. We touched him. It is the one called word that is in charge of all life.”

Garifuna: “I write to you (plural) concerning the one named Word, the one who gives life…”

Source: John Beekman in Notes on Translation 12, November 1964, p. 1ff.