member of the court

The Greek that is translated as “(Manean, a) member of the court (of Herod)” or similar in English is translated as “who grew up with Herod as a child” in Sierra de Juárez Zapotec, as “was brought up together with Herod” in Morelos Nahuatl, or “used to live with Herod” Eastern Highland Otomi. (Source: Viola Waterhouse in Notes on Translation August 1966, p. 86ff.)

doubt

The Greek and Hebrew that is translated as “doubt” in English versions is translated with a term in Tzeltal that means “heart is gone.” (Nida 1952, p. 122)

In other languages it is represented by a variety of idiomatic renderings, and in the majority of instances the concept of duality is present, e.g. “to make his heart two” (Kekchí), “to be with two hearts” (Punu), “to stand two” (Sierra de Juárez Zapotec), “to be two” or “to have two minds” (Navajo), “to think something else” (Tabasco Chontal), “to think two different things” (Shipibo-Conibo), “to have two thoughts” (Yaka and Huallaga Huánuco Quechua), or “two-things-soul” (Yucateco).

In some languages, however, doubt is expressed without reference to the concept of “two” or “otherness,” such as “to have whirling words in one’s heart” (Chol), “his thoughts are not on it” (Baoulé), or “to have a hard heart” (Piro). (Source: Bratcher / Nida, except for Yucateco: Nida 1947, p. 229 and Huallaga Huánuco Quechua: Nida 1952, p. 123)

In Chokwekwalajala is ‘to doubt.’ It is the repetitive of kuala, ‘to spread out in order, to lay (as a table), to make (as a bed),’ and is connected with kualula ‘to count.’ [It is therefore like] a person in doubt as one who can’t get a thing in proper order, who lays it out one way but goes back again and again and tries it other ways. It is connected with uncertainty, hesitation, lack of an orderly grasp of the ‘count’ of the subject.” (Source: D. B. Long in The Bible Translator 1952, p. 87ff.)

ungodliness

The Greek that is translated as “all ungodliness” in English is translated as “those who don’t think anything of God” in Huehuetla Tepehua, as “all those who don’t pay attention to him” in Isthmus Zapotec, as “all people who don’t believe in him” in Sayula Popoluca, as “all who do not pay attention to what God says” in Sierra de Juárez Zapotec, and as “those who do not respect him” in Hopi. (Source: Waterhouse / Parrott in Notes on Translation October 1967, p. 1ff.)

senseless minds were darkened

The Greek that is translated as “senseless minds were darkened” or similar in English is translated as “stupid head-hearts became more stupid” in Yatzachi Zapotec, as “little by little their innermost came to sit dark” in Sierra de Juárez Zapotec, and as “now they walk in darkness” in Sayula Popoluca. (Source: Waterhouse / Parrott in Notes on Translation October 1967, p. 1ff.)

they are a law to themselves

The Greek that is often translated into English as “they are a law to themselves” is translated into Bilua as “they follow their own law.” (Source: Carl Gross)

In Huehuetla Tepehua it is translated as “it is just as if they had a law in their hearts,” in Highland Totonac as “on their own they think of the law they should do,” in Yatzachi Zapotec as “what their head-hearts tell them to do is like the law for them,” in Chicahuaxtla Triqui as “their very hearts is a law which issues orders to them,” in Tzeltal as “it is because there are commandments in their hearts,” and in Sierra de Juárez Zapotec as “show that they themselves know what they ought to do.” (Source: Waterhouse / Parrott in Notes on Translation October 1967, p. 1ff.)

were consumed with passion for one another

The Greek that is translated as “were consumed with passion for one another” or similar in English is translated as “became dark in their hearts by a lustful heart toward one another” in Hopi, as “only exceedingly desired to do evil in a different way with other men” in Central Tarahumara, and as “with ardent desire doing what is not good” in Sierra de Juárez Zapotec. (Source: Waterhouse / Parrott in Notes on Translation October 1967, p. 1ff.)

dishonorable passions, shameful acts

The Greek that is translated as “dishonorable passions” or “shameful acts” in English is translated in Manikion as “actions that make people spit.” (Source: Daud Soesilo)

In Sierra de Juárez Zapotec it is translated as “their own filthy cravings” and in Yatzachi Zapotec as “doing shameful things and unclean things as their head-hearts desired.” (Source: Waterhouse / Parrott in Notes on Translation October 1967, p. 1ff.)

rhetorical use of first person plural pronoun

The Greek that is translated as “We should not commit sexual immorality” is translated in Sierra de Juárez Zapotec as “You should not commit sexual immorality.”

John Beekman (in Notes on Translation 19, 1965, p. 1-10) explains that in the Pauline epistles “a passage [often] starts out in the second person [and is then] changed to the first person to spare the readers of any negative reactions to the mention of their actual state. In most passages where Paul includes himself, the correction or warning that is given is sufficiently general in nature to apply to any believer. In some passages, however, the content of the injunctions are rather specific and perhaps not applicable to such an one as Paul, especially if they carry negative implications concerning his conduct. The Sierra de Juárez Zapotec language helper objected to the first person form used in 1 Corinthians 10:8 on the grounds that it suggested that Paul was at that time indulging in immorality; or actively contemplating it. This was changed to second person.”

repent, repentance

(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 that is often translated as “repent” or “repentance” is (back-) translated in various ways: (click or tap here to see the rest of this insight)

  • Western Kanjobal: “to think in the soul”
  • Kekchí: “pain in the heart”
  • Northwestern Dinka: “to turn the heart”
  • Pedi: “to become untwisted”
  • Baoulé: “it hurts to make you quit it” (source for this and above: Nida 1952, p. 137)
  • Balinese: “putting on a new mind”
  • Chicahuaxtla Triqui: “be sorry on account of [your] sins”
  • Uab Meto: “to turn the heart upside down” (source for this and the two above: Bratcher / Nida)
  • Central Mazahua / Chichimeca-Jonaz: “turning back the heart” (source: Nida 1952, p. 40)
  • Suki: biaekwatrudap gjaeraesae: “turn with sorrow” (Source L. and E. Twyman in The Bible Translator 1953, p. 91ff.)
  • Yamba and Bulu: “turn over the heart (source: W. Reyburn in The Bible Translator 1959, p. 1ff.)
  • Nyanja: kutembenuka mtima (“to be turned around in one’s heart”) (source: Ernst Wendland in The Bible Translator 2002, p. 319ff.)
  • Caribbean Javanese: mertobat (“tired of old life”)
  • Saramaccan: bia libi ko a Massa Gadu (“turn your life to the Lord God”)
  • Sranan Tongo: drai yu libi (“turn your life”) or kenki libi (“change life”)
  • Eastern Maroon Creole: dai yu libi (“turn your life”) (source for this and 3 above: Jabini 2015)
  • Eggon: “bow in the dust” (source: Kilgour, p. 80)
  • Embu: “changing heart” (“2 Cor. 7:10 says ‘For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation and brings no regret, but worldly grief produces death.’ In ordinary speech the terms ‘repent’ and ‘regret’ are used interchangeably in Embu, so that this verse comes out as: ‘godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation and brings no repentance,’ which is contradictory. The problem was solved by using ‘changing heart’ in the first, and ‘sadness’ in the second.”) (source: Jan Sterk)
  • Anuak: “liver falls down”
  • Kafa: “return from way of sin to God” (source for this and the one above: Loren Bliese)
  • Latvian: atgriezties (verb) / atgriešanās (noun) (“turn around / return” — see turn around / convert) (source: Katie Roth)
  • Obolo: igwugwu ikom: “turning back (from evil)” (source: Enene Enene)
  • Mairasi: make an end (of wrongdoing) (source: Enggavoter 2004)
  • Luchazi: ku aluluka mutima: “to turn in heart” (source: E. Pearson in The Bible Translator 1954, p. 160ff.)
  • Chokwe: kulinkonyeka: “to fold back over” or “to go back on oneself” (source D.B. Long in The Bible Translator 1953, p. 135ff.).
  • Muna: dofetompa’ao dhosa bhe dodoli ne Lahata’ala: “to radically-end sin and to turn to God” (source: René van den Berg)
  • Bacama: por-njiya: “fetch sand” (“Before the coming of Christianity 100 years ago, when the elders went to pray to the gods, they would take sand and throw it over each shoulder and down their backs while confessing their sins. Covering themselves with sand was a ritual to show that they were sorry for what they had done wrong, sort of like covering oneself with sackcloth and ashes. Now idol worship for the most part is abandoned in Bacama culture, but the Christian church has retained the phrase por-njiya to mean ‘repent, doing something to show sorrow for one’s sins’” — source: David Frank in this blog post.)
  • “In Tzotzil two reflexive verbs to communicate the biblical concept of repentance are used. Xca’i jba means to know or to reflect inwardly on one’s self. This self inquiry or self examination is similar to the attitude of the prodigal son where Luke 15:17 records that ‘he came to his senses.’ Broke, starving, and slopping hogs, the prodigal admitted to himself that he was in the wrong place. The second reflexive verb ‘jsutes jba’ means turning away from what one is and turning to something else. In a sense, it is deciding against one’s self and toward someone else. It is similar to the attitude of the prodigal son when he said, ‘I will get up and go to my father’ (v. 18).” (source: Aeilts, p. 118)
  • Enlhet “exchange innermosts.” “Innermost” or valhoc is a term that is frequently used in Enlhet to describe a large variety of emotions or states of mind (for other examples see here). (Source: Jacob Loewen in The Bible Translator 1969, p. 24ff.)
  • San Blas Kuna: “sorry for wrong done in the heart” (source: Claudio and Marvel Iglesias in The Bible Translator 1951, p. 85ff.)
  • Desano: “change your bad deeds for good ones
  • Isthmus Mixe: “put your hearts and minds on the good road”
  • Eastern Highland Otomi: “change your thinking about evil and walk in the way of God”
  • San Mateo del Mar Huave: “just remember that you have done wicked, in order that you might do good”
  • Coatlán Mixe: “heart-return to God” (source for this and four above: Viola Waterhouse in Notes on Translation August 1966, p. 86ff.)
  • Sierra de Juárez Zapotec: “get on the right road”
  • Isthmus Zapotec: “heart becomes soft” (source for this and above: Waterhouse / Parrott in Notes on Translation October 1967, p. 1ff.)

See also: convert / conversion / turn back and see Seat of the Mind for traditional views of “ways of knowing, thinking, and feeling.”