Andy Warren-Rothlin explains: “God appears to refer to himself in the plural, and it seems important to retain this, even though we don’t know whether it is a reference to the Trinity (the Bura translation team’s view) or a hint at a polytheistic background or the ‘council of God’ (e.g. Ps 82:1). Bura has three words for ‘we’ — an exclusive one (referring to speaker and others, excluding the addressee), an inclusive ‘dual’ one (referring to the speaker and one addressee), and an inclusive ‘plural’ one (referring to the speaker and more than one addressee). We agreed to use the latter, which allows for a Trinity, pantheon or divine council; the only interpretation it excludes is one which reads this as referring to just the Father and the Son (which some may think is the case).”
The Hebrew that is translated as “nurse” in English is translated in the HausaCommon Language Ajami Bible as macen da ta yi goyonta or “woman who gave her support.” Since goyo means both “to support (a friend)” and “to back a baby” it covers the range of duties that are implicit here. (Source: Andy Warren-Rothlin)
The Hebrew that is translated as “who are you, my son?” or similar in English is translated in the HausaCommon Language Ajami Bible as Wanne ɗana ne kai? or “Which of my sons are you?” to specify that Isaak knew it was one of his sons (rather than using “son” as a casual address for a male person which it could be in Hausa — or English or Hebrew). (Source: Andy Warren-Rothlin)
The Hebrew, Latin and Greek that is translated “boat” or “ship” in English is translated in Chichimeca-Jonaz as “that with which we can walk on water” (source: Ronald D. Olson in Notes on Translation January, 1968, p. 15ff.), in Chitonga as a term in combination with bwato or “dugout canoe” (source: Wendland 1987, p. 72), and in Tangale as inj am or “canoe-of water” (inj — “canoe” — on its own typically refers to a traditional type of carved-out log for sleeping) (source: Andy Warren-Rothlin).
In Kouya it is translated as ‘glʋ ‘kadʋ — “big canoe.”
Philip Saunders (p. 231) explains how the Kouya team arrived at that conclusion:
“Acts chapter 27 was a challenge! It describes Paul’s sea voyage to Italy, and finally Rome. There is a storm at sea and a shipwreck on Malta, and the chapter includes much detailed nautical vocabulary. How do you translate this for a landlocked people group, most of whom have never seen the ocean? All they know are small rivers and dugout canoes.
“We knew that we could later insert some illustrations during the final paging process which would help the Kouya readers to picture what was happening, but meanwhile we struggled to find or invent meaningful terms. The ‘ship’ was a ‘big canoe’ and the ‘passengers’ were ‘the people in the big canoe’; the ‘crew’ were the ‘workers in the big canoe’; the ‘pilot’ was the ‘driver of the big canoe’; the ‘big canoe stopping place’ was the ‘harbour’, and the ‘big canoe stopping metal’ was the ‘anchor’!”
The Hebrew that is translated as “whoever sheds the blood of a human, by a human shall that person’s blood be shed” or similar in English is translated in Bura-Pabir as “If a man spills his brother’s blood by killing him, then a man will kill him.” (Source: Andy Warren-Rothlin)
The Hebrew that is translated in English typically as “mandrake” is translated in various French translations (Traduction Œcuménique de la Bible, Nouvelle Français courant, Parole de Vie) as pommes d’amour or “love apples” which indicates the function as an aphrodisiac (source: Andy Warren-Rothlin). Likewise, in a number of German translations (Luther, Gute Nachricht Bibel), Liebesäpfel with the same meaning is used. Incidentally, in both German and French the respective terms also refer to candy apples .
The Hebrew that is translated as “firmament,” “expanse,” or “dome” in English is translated in Roviana as galegalearane: “the open space between the earth and the sky,” in Moru as “empty space” and in Hausa as sararin sama or “space of the sky” (Sabon Rai Don Kowa, publ. 2020).
In Idoma it is translated as okpanco — “the top of the sky.” “According to tradition, when the world began, the okpanco was low. A woman was pounding yams and her pestle kept hitting okpanco and it started going higher and higher.”
In Naskapi it is translated as “sky skin” — “like a caribou skin.”
(Sources: Roviana: Carl Gross; Moru: Jan Sterk; Hausa: Andy Warren-Rothlin; Idoma: Rob Koops; Naskapi: Doug Lockhart in Word Alive 2013 )
In Lingala it is translated as “surface.” Sigurd F. Westberg (in The Bible Translator 1956, p. 117ff. ) explains: “The ‘firmament’ in Genesis 1 gave us another problem. Its meaning in English is certainly not immediately obvious. The dictionary tells us that the Hebrew means something close to our English word ’expanse.’ It seems, however, that the Hebrew idea may not always have been as abstract as that, for Isaiah says that the Lord ‘stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in.’ But the Greek word used in the Septuagint gives the idea of a firm and solid structure, and this is the idea that is carried out in our English word ‘firmament.’ Modern translations into English, Swedish, Norwegian and French take one or the other of these two leads. It is the predicament of the translator that he dare not hesitate too long between ideas. (…) In this case we tried to arrive at ’expanse’ by the use of a word meaning ’width,’ but we found that it is not really understandable except as it is associated with the noun of which it indicates the width. It cannot be used alone. The word we finally used means ‘surface,’ but it also has the idea of something stretched out or smoothed out. It is more concrete than we should like, but it does not require identity with a concrete object as does the word for width’.’
In Newari it is translated as “upper part of water” (Gen. 1:6 is translated “height between two portions of water.”) (Source: Newari Back Translation)
In Tenharim a translation for “firmament” was not deemed possible because there were no overlaps in the world view of the Tenharim speakers and that of the cosmology of Genesis. LaVera Betts (in: Notes on Translation, September 1971, p. 16ff.) explains: “[In their view,] heaven’s edge is curbed and solid. It can become meshed releasing the water above it onto the clouds, which to the Parintintín [the Tenharim speakers] are gathered wind, in order for this water to be dispersed in the form of rain. An entrance, position and description unknown, is available to the occupants of the layers of heaven through which they may pass to the world. To each layer of heaven and heaven as a whole they apply the same word: yvaga.
“The sun, moon, and stars attach to the world’s side of heaven’s edge. The sun and moon have separate paths-the moon making a half revolution and returning, and the sun making a complete revolution. No all-inclusive term for the heavenly bodies, earth, and the expanse between them so far has been encountered in Parintintín. Nor has there been found a suitable term for this expanse alone. During the day the expanse could be called the open/clear space: mytuêa; but at night it disappears into heaven and night takes its place. Its occurrence, then, is contingent on the presence of light and therefore inappropriate for expressing firmament (Genesis 1:6).
“To translate ‘firmament’ as a vault the translator possibly could have used heaven’s edge which, although suiting their world view grandly, poses problems in the translator’s mind especially as to the restricted meaning it would force on the translation for them. That a good shaman is believed to be able to bring heaven down immediately over the earth reveals that to them the expanse over the earth is empty, or compressible and flexible, and the ‘vault’ movable.
“The possible translation of atmosphere for firmament was settled upon and the term used was ‘wind’: yvytua. The phrase ‘and God called the firmament heaven’ was deleted. A possible alternate ‘and God called the place of the wind heaven’ also was not used as Coriolano [the indigenous translator] did not know where the wind went when it is not seen in the form of clouds nor felt; however, he insisted the wind is everlasting — unlike one’s breath which is not lasting. Animates do not breathe air/wind but their hearts pump their own breath.”