chariot

The Hebrew, Latin and Greek that is translated into English as “chariot” is translated into Anuak as “canoe pulled by horse.” “Canoe” is the general term for “vehicle” (source: Loren Bliese). Similarly it is translated in Lokạạ as ukwaa wạ nyanyang ntuuli or “canoe that is driven by horses.” (Source: J.A. Naudé, C.L. Miller Naudé, J.O. Obono in Acta Theologica 43/2, 2023, p. 129ff. )

In Eastern Highland Otomi it’s translated as “cart pulled by horses” (source: Larson 1998, p. 98) and in Chichicapan Zapotec as “ox cart” (in Acts 8). Ox carts are common vehicles for travel. (Source: Loren Bliese)

In Chichimeca-Jonaz, it is translated as “little house with two feet pulled by two horses” (source: Viola Waterhouse in Notes on Translation August 1966, p. 86ff.) and in the Hausa Common Language Bible as keken-doki or “cart of donkey” (source: Andy Warren-Rothlin)

It is illustrated for use in Bible translations in East Africa by Pioneer Bible Translators like this:

Image owned by PBT and Jonathan McDaniel and licensed with the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

See also cart.

boat, ship

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’!”

In Lokạạ it is translated as ukalangkwaa, lit. “English canoe.” “The term was not coined for the Bible translation, but rather originated in colonial times when the English arrived in Nigeria on ships. The indigenous term for a canoe was modified to represent the large, ocean-going ship of the English.” (Source: J.A. Naudé, C.L. Miller Naudé, J.O. Obono in Acta Theologica 43/2, 2023, p. 129ff. )

See also ships of Tarshish, harbor, anchor, and sailor.

Abraham

The name that is transliterated as “Abraham” in English is translated in virtually all sign languages, including American Sign Language with the sign signifying “hold back arm” (referring to Genesis 22:12).


“Abraham” in American Sign Language (source )

In Tira it is transliterated as Abaram. The choice of this, rather than the widely-known “Ibrahim,” as used in the Tira translation of the Qu’ran, was to offset it against the Muslim transliteration which originates from Arabic. (Source: J.A. Naudé, C.L. Miller Naudé, J.O. Obono in Acta Theologica 43/2, 2023, p. 129ff. )

Click or tap here to see two short video clips about Abraham (source: Bible Lands 2012)

See also our ancestor Abraham and Abram.

grain

The Greek and Hebrew that is translated in English as “grain” (or: “corn”) is translated in Kui as “(unthreshed) rice.” Helen Evans (in The Bible Translator 1954, p. 40ff. ) explains: “Padddy [unthreshed rice] is the main crop of the country and rice the staple diet of the people, besides which [grain] is unknown and there is no word for it, and it seemed to us that paddy and rice in the mind of the Kui people stood for all that corn meant to the Jews.” “Paddy” is also the translation in Pa’o Karen (source: Gordon Luce in The Bible Translator 1950, p. 153f. ).

Other translations include: “wheat” (Teutila Cuicatec), “corn” (Lalana Chinantec), “things to eat” (Morelos Nahuatl), “grass corn” (wheat) (Chichimeca-Jonaz) (source: Viola Waterhouse in Notes on Translation August 1966, p. 86ff.), or ntimumma lujia / “seeds for food” (Lokạạ — “since Lokạạ does not have specific terms for maize and rice that can be described as grains”) (source: J.A. Naudé, C.L. Miller Naudé, J.O. Obono in Acta Theologica 43/2, 2023, p. 129ff. )

phylacteries, tefillin

The Greek that is translated as “phylacteries” or “tefillin” in many English translations is translated in Uma as “prayer headbands” (source: Uma Back Translation), in Yakan as “containers for the writing copied from the holy-book which are tied to foreheads and arms” (source: Yakan Back Translation), in Kankanaey as “storage-place of verses that are part of the law, that they tie around foreheads and arm/hands” (source: Kankanaey Back Translation), and in Tagbanwa as “that which is bound round the head and arm which containing a few words of the written word of God” (source: Tagbanwa Back Translation).

In Lokạạ it is translated as yakubẹẹn bạ yafọngi kaa likạ or “boxes where words are written,” therefore “describing the appearance of the item rather than its function.” (Source: J.A. Naudé, C.L. Miller Naudé, J.O. Obono in Acta Theologica 43/2, 2023, p. 129ff. )

Click or tap here to see a short video clip about phylacteries (source: Bible Lands 2012)

hyssop

The Hebrew and Greek that is transliterated in English as “hyssop” is translated in Lokạạ as yisoki. Yisoki “is the name of a local bitter herb that is used for ritual cleansing in the traditional religion. It was, therefore, perceived by the translators as functionally adequate for ‘hyssop.’ The translation is thus symbolic in that it uses an indigenous Lokạạ botanical term and simultaneously indexical in that the translators believed that the translation points to the functional significance of the incipient term.” (Source: J.A. Naudé, C.L. Miller Naudé, J.O. Obono in Acta Theologica 43/2, 2023, p. 129ff. )

fig tree

The Greek that is translated in English as “fig tree” is translated in Lokạạ with figi, an indigenized transliteration of the English “fig.”

“The Lokạạ translators noted that they could not use the name of their local fig kẹkamati, which is very close to the fig family but only a shrub. This is because of the appearance of the Greek term for fig tree in verses such as John 1:48, where the fig tree is an enjoyable place for sitting in the shade. The Lokạạ translators decided to use an iconic translation of the English “fig”, which they indigenised as figi in Lokạạ. Since the term figi could not easily be connected to the indigenous term kẹkamati, readers would not have difficulty with passages such as John 1:48, in which people sit under the fig tree.” (Source: J.A. Naudé, C.L. Miller Naudé, J.O. Obono in Acta Theologica 43/2, 2023, p. 129ff. )

See also fig tree in leaf and Can a fig tree yield olives or a grapevine figs.