shipwreck

The Greek that is translated in English as “shipwreck” is translated in Chokwe as “stuck on the road” because the concept of a wrecked ship was not clear to a land-bound people. (Source: D. B. Long in The Bible Translator 1952, p. 87ff.)

conscience

The Greek that is rendered in English as “conscience” is translated into Aari as “our thoughts speak to us,” in Nuer it is “the knowledge of their heart” (source: Jan Sterk), in Cheke Holo “to know what is straight and what is wrong” (source: Carl Gross), and in Chokwe “law of the heart” (source D.B. Long in The Bible Translator 1953, p. 135ff.).

See also conscience seared and perfect conscience / clear conscience and brothers, up to this day I have lived my life with a clear conscience before God.

busybody

The Greek that is sometimes translated in English as “busybody” is translated in Chokwe as mukwa moko a jiji or “he with the hands of a fly.” D. B. Long (in The Bible Translator 1952, p. 87ff.) explains: “This seems startling, but then these people have a firsthand knowledge of flies in large numbers, and thoroughly detest them. They say they dabble in everyone’s food and add insult to injury by rubbing their ‘hands’ first in front of them and then behind. So a busybody is always puttering in other people’s affairs and he does not always rub his hands in the same way: part of hit is behind his back, you are never sure that you know what he is doing.”

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.)

imitate

The Greek that is usually translated in English as “imitate” in Chokwe as kwimbulula or “sing over after another.” D. B. Long (in The Bible Translator 1952, p. 87ff.) explains: “To imitate is to sing over something after someone else has given us the tune. Christ has sung His heavenly tune, and we, having learned it, are now to sing it over and over again.”

crops are white

The phrase that is translated as “the crops white (or: ripe) for harvest” in English is translated in Hiri Motu as “the crops are ripe and big and ready to eat.” The word for “ripe” hints at bananas and the word for “big” hints at sweet potatoes.

In Chokwe the white seed “mystified the reader (…) Ripe harvest-ready grains is ‘red,’ which in this land of few colour distinction is about the equivalent of ‘golden.’ To make send for the passage we felt justification in changing ‘white’ to ‘red.'” (Source: D. B. Long in The Bible Translator 1952, p. 87ff.)

explain, interpret

The Greek that is translated as “interpreted” or “explained” is translated as kulumbununa — “to take-apart-a-pile” in Chokwe. “Kulumba is ‘to stack up in a pile’, ‘to pile up’, and ‘to unstack or take from a pile’ is kulumbununa. But this is the word they use for explaining or expounding a subject, and how expressive it is. One who can expound is one who can take the great unordered pile of any truth and ‘unpile’ it, take it apart piece by piece, laying it out in order so that it can be understood.” (Source: D. B. Long in The Bible Translator 1952, p. 87ff.)

castaway, disqualified

The Greek that is translated as “disqualified” or “castaway” in English is translated as chisashili in Chokwe. This refers to a “basket or the like that has broken down or for some reason unfit for the fulfillment of its original purpose. It is then thrown out, though it may be picked off the rubbish heap to serve some other, though always inferior, end. It is rejected as unfit for the job intended by its owner or maker and lies on the refuse pile in shame.”

(Source: D. B. Long in The Bible Translator 1952, p. 87ff.)

bishop, overseer

The Greek that is translated as “overseer” or “bishop” is kalayi in Chokwe. “This is the word for a watchman set in time of danger or war, who is responsible for the welfare of all under his care and will be held accountable for his faithfulness or otherwise.” (Source: D. B. Long in The Bible Translator 1952, p. 87ff.)

In Bacama the translation is adɨ nidə ji-kottə: “person who looks after the followers.” (Source: David Frank in this blog post)

deacon

The Greek that is often translated as “deacon” in English is translated as kavumbi in Chokwe, someone “who serves another, not from compulsion or for a wage, but because of vumbi or grace.”

(Source: D. B. Long in The Bible Translator 1952, p. 87ff.)

beat his breast

The Greek that is translated in English as “beat his breast” or similar is translated in Kasem as “clapped his hands.” To beat one’s breast is considered to be a sign of arrogance and pride. To express regret people clap their hands. (Source: Urs Niggli in Holzhausen / Riderer 2010, p. 16)

In Yaweyuha it is expressed more explicitly as “feeling great sorrow, repeatedly beating their chests” (source: Larson 1998, p. 98) and likewise on Chokwe as “beat his breast for sorrow” (“beat one’s breast” is the equivalent of the English “pat oneself on the back”) (source: D. B. Long in The Bible Translator 1952, p. 87ff.).

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:

  • 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: “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.)

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