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 2:3)

Following are a number of back-translation of 1John 2:3:

Yatzachi Zapotec: “But if we do what he commands, we know that we now know him.”

Eastern Highland Otomi: “If we really do his Word, we take for true that we know God.”

Tzotzil: “If we obey the commands of God, thus we know that we are his children.”

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

complete verse (1John 3:6)

Following are a number of back-translation of 1John 3:6:

Yatzachi Zapotec: “Each one of us if we are constantly present with him, we are not evil doers. And each one of us if we are evil doers we do not yet understand who Jesus Christ is, nor are we acquainted with him.”

Eastern Highland Otomi: “He who habitually lives with Christ doesn’t habitually do sin. But he who habitually sins, never wanted to hear Christ and he never knew him.”

Tzotzil: “If we are in the presence of Christ, we don’t now seek our sin. If we still seek our sin, it is because we have not yet seen Christ, we do not yet know him.”

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

complete verse (1John 4:15)

Following are a number of back-translation of 1John 4:15:

Yatzachi Zapotec: “If we say that Jesus is God’s son, God is constantly present with us and we are constantly present with God.”

Eastern Highland Otomi: “He who speaks truly (the truth) that Jesus is the Son of God, God resides in his heart, and the person lives with God.”

Tzotzil: “If plainly we say that Jesus is God’s Son, God is in our hearts. Therefore we are in the presence of God.”

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

the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change

The Greek that is translated as §the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change” or similar in English is translated in the following ways ion other languages:

  • Tzotzil: “the lights, their shiningness changes; their light can be shaded. Not thus our Father God.”
  • Eastern Highland Otomi: “But God isn’t like the lights he made, sometimes they lack light when there is a turning.”
  • Central Mazahua: “But he doesn’t change his thinking like those things that are in heaven change their road. He is always the same gracious person.”

(Source: Ellis Deibler in Notes on Translation July, 1967, p. 5ff.)

periods of the night

Many languages have highly developed expressions for periods of the night, some of which rather closely parallel the series occurring in this verse. For example, the evening is “the sun lost” (Tzotzil) and “the sitting together time” (Mende). The period around midnight is “the stomach of the night” (Uduk). The period in the morning before sun-up may be described as “when the world begins to get white” (Tzeltal) and “before the sky-opens-door” (Eastern Maninkakan).

complete verse (1John 2:14)

Following are a number of back-translation of 1John 2:14:

Yatzachi Zapotec: “This letter I have written to you parents of children because you are acquainted with Jesus Christ the person who is present since the beginning. Likewise I have written to you young people because you endure not doing (keep from doing) evil. The word of God is constantly in your thoughts, and you have won out over the deceiver.”

Eastern Highland Otomi: “I’m writing to you, you men, because you know him who was living when unending time. I’m writing to you, you boys, because you are strong. The Word of God dwells in your hearts and you have overcome the big-evil-one.”

Tzotzil: “You who are already old (men), because you have already known Christ whose character is he is, therefore I have written you this.. You who are young men still, because there is already the strength of your hearts therefore I have written to you this. God’s word is in your hearts therefore all the time you conquer the devil.”

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

complete verse (1John 3:17)

Following are a number of back-translation of 1John 3:17:

Yatzachi Zapotec: “If we have things and we know that our fellow is in need to use them and we do not pity him, we cannot say that we are loving God.”

Eastern Highland Otomi: “But if one has something that he has, but his sibling is lacking necessities, and if he doesn’t do love to him, but the love of God is not in his heart then.”

Tzotzil: “If there is what is ours here in the world, if we see that poor him our brother, if we do not pity him even a little, it is in vain we say that we love God.”

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

complete verse (1John 5:6)

Following are a number of back-translation of 1John 5:6:

Yatzachi Zapotec: “Jesus Christ came to this world, he was baptized, and he shed his blood dying. He did not come and just be baptized, but also he shed his blood and died. And the Spirit of God speaks about him. The Spirit speaks true words.”

Eastern Highland Otomi: “Jesus Christ came here to the world. He was baptized with water, he is the same one who spilled out his blood, he died, and not only was he baptized with water, but also he spilled his blood, in that he died. He is Jesus Christ, God’s Chosen-One. This is what God’s Good Spirit tells us, who shows us the truth.”

Tzotzil: “It is the Son of God, it is Jesus Christ that came and was baptized here in the world, that came and shed his blood on the cross. It was not only he came and was baptized. He came and shed his blood on the cross also. Thus the Holy Spirit tells us. He tells the truth. The Holy Spirit does not know how to lie.”

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

rhetorical questions (John 7:48)

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 7:48 reads “Not one has believed of the authorities or of the Pharisees.”

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