knowledge puffs up

The Greek that is translated in English as “knowledge puffs up” or “knowledge makes arrogant” is translated in Huba as “knowledge comes with bringing head.” (Source: David Frank in this blog post )

instruct, warn

The Greek that is translated in English as “to instruct (us)” or “to warn us” is translated in Huba as “so that our ears would be pulled.” (Source: David Frank in this blog post )

hardness of heart

The Greek that is translated as “hardness of heart” in English is translated as “large heart” into San Mateo Del Mar Huave, “tightness of heart” in Shilluk, “blind in their thoughts” in Copainalá Zoque, “hard heads” in Chicahuaxtla Triqui, “ears without holes” in Shipibo-Conibo and “do not have pain in their heart” in both Tzotzil and Tzeltal. (Source: Bratcher /Nida 1961)

In Pwo Karen it is translated as “with thick ears and horns” (source: David Clark), in Saint Lucian Creole French as Tèt yo té wèd toujou or “their heads were hard still” (source: David Frank in Hearts and Minds), in Enlhet as “(their) innermosts were deaf,” and in Woun Meu as “stiff thinking” (source for last two: Jacob Loewen in The Bible Translator 1971, p. 169ff. )

See also stubborn / hardness of heart.

Passover

The Hebrew and Greek pesach/pascha that is typically translated in English as “Passover” (see below) is translated in a variety of descriptive ways of various aspects of the Jewish festival. (Click or tap here to see the rest of this insight):

  • Ojitlán Chinantec: “the feast of the passing by of God’s angel”
  • Lalana Chinantec: “the day would come which is called Passover, when the Israel people remember how they went out of the land of Egypt”
  • Huehuetla Tepehua: “the celebration when they ate their sheep”
  • Umiray Dumaget Agta: “the celebration of the day of their being brought out of bondage”
    (source for this and above: M. Larson / B. Moore in Notes on Translation February 1970, p. 1-125.)
  • Obolo: ijọk Iraraka — “Festival of Passing” (source: Enene Enene)
  • Guhu-Samane: “special day of sparing” (source: Ernest Richert in The Bible Translator 1965, p. 198ff. )
  • Yakan: “The festival of the Isra’il tribe which they call For-Remembering” (source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Wolof: “Festival of the day of Salvation” (“the term ‘pass over’ brings up the image of a person’s crossing over a chasm after death”) (source: Marilyn Escher)
  • Bura-Pabir: vir kucelir fəlɓəla kəi — “time-of happiness-of jumping-over house”
  • Berom: Nzem Gyilsit Nelɔ — “Festival-of jumping-of houses”
  • Nigerian Fulfulde: Humto Ƴaɓɓitaaki / Humto Sakkinki — “Festival-of passing-over”
  • Hausa: Bikin Ƙetarewa — “Festival-of going-over” (source for this and three above: Andy Warren-Rothlin)
  • Jula: “Feast of end of slavery” (source: Fritz Goerling)
  • Bafanji: laiŋzieʼ — “pass-jump over” (source: Cameron Hamm)
  • Tiéyaxo Bozo / Jenaama Bozo: “Salvation/Rescue (religious) feast” (source: Marko Hakkola)
  • Sabaot: Saakweetaab Keeytaayeet — “Festival of Passing-by” (source: Iver Larsen)
  • Language spoken in India and Bangladesh: “Festival of avoidance”
  • Vlax Romani: o ghes o baro le Nakhimasko — “the Day of the Passing”
  • Saint Lucian Creole: Fèt Délivwans — “Feast of Deliverance” (source: David Frank)
  • Finnish: pääsiäinen (“The term is very probably coined during the NT translation process around 1520-1530. It is connected to a multivalent verb päästä and as such refers either to the Exodus (päästä meaning “to get away [from Egypt]”) or to the end of the Lent [päästä referring to get relieved from the limitations in diet]. The later explanation being far more probable than the first.”)
  • Northern Sami: beas’sážat (“Coined following the model in Finnish. The Sami verb is beassat and behaves partly like the Finnish one. Many Christian key terms are either borrowed from Finnish or coined following the Finnish example.”)
  • Estonian: ülestõusmispüha — “holiday/Sunday of the resurrection” — or lihavõttepüha — “holiday/Sunday of returning of meat”
  • Karelian: äijüpäivü — “the great day” (“Here one can hear the influence of the Eastern Christianity, but not directly Russian as language, because the Russian term is Пасха/Pasha or Воскресение Христово/Voskresenie Hristovo, ‘[the day of] the resurrection of Christ,’ but the week before Easter is called as the great week.”) (Source for this and three above: Seppo Sipilä)
  • Russian (for Russian speaking Muslims): праздник Освобождения/prazdnik Osvobozhdeniya — “Festival of-liberation” (source: Andy Warren-Rothlin)
  • Spanish Sign Language: pass through + miracle (source: John Elwode in The Bible Translator 2008, p. 78ff.)


    “Passover” in Spanish Sign Language (source )

  • English: Passover (term coined by William Tyndale that both replicates the sound of the Hebrew original pesah — פסח as well as part of the meaning: “passing over” the houses of the Israelites in Egypt) — oddly, the English Authorized Version (King James Version) mistranslates the occurrence in Acts 12:4 as Easter

Many Romance languages follow the tradition from Latin that has one term for both “Easter” and “Passover” (pascha). Portuguese uses Páscoa for both, Italian uses Pascha, and French has Pâque for “Passover” and the identically pronounced Pâques for “Easter.”

In languages in francophone and lusophone (Portuguese speaking) Africa, indigenous languages typically use the Romance word for “Easter” as a loanword and often transliterate pesach/pascha. In Kinyarwanda and Rundi Pasika is used, in Swahili and Congo Swahili Pasaka, and in Lingala Pasika. In some cases, the transliteration of “Passover” is derived from the European language, such as Umbundu’s Pascoa (from Portuguese) and Bulu’s Pak (from French).

As John Ellingworth (in The Bible Translator 1980, p 445f. ) points out “in most contexts only the presence or absence of the definite article distinguishes them [in French la pâque for Passover and Pâques for Easter]. Since most African languages do not have definite articles, there remains no way to distinguish between the two terms where the general population has borrowed the word for Easter and the Bible translators have borrowed the word for Passover to use in their translation. Some even consider the references to [Passover] before the death of Christ as prophetic!”

barren

The Greek that is translated as “barren” in English is translated with two different terms in Sranan Tongo: “unable to get a child” (used in Luke 1:7) and “closed womb/belly” (because of old age) (used in Luke 1:36). (Source: Reiling / Swellengrebel)

For the translation into Upper Guinea Crioulo, it was not possible to translate with a purely descriptive term. David Frank (in here) explains:

“The [translation] team is doing a great job, but there were some challenges. Luke 1:7 is supposed to say that Elizabeth was barren, but they said that while their word for barren might be used for animals, it would not be polite to use for people. They translated it as Deus ka da Isabel bambaran, which means ‘God hadn’t given Elizabeth a bambaran,’ which refers to the cloth a woman uses to carry an infant on her back.”

See also heal (from infertility).

the light of the knowledge of the glory of God

The Greek that is often translated in English as “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God” is translated in Saint Lucian Creole French as “for us to be able to see that light and understand how great God is great.”

David Frank (in: Lexical Challenges in the St. Lucian Creole Bible Translation Project, 1998) explains: “Greek is rich in abstract nouns, and that was another problem area when translating into St. Lucian Creole. [Since many] abstract nouns are semantically related to verbs, adjectives, or adverbs that do exist in Creole, the best solution is often to adjust the sentence to use a part of speech other than a noun to translate an abstract noun. To express ‘the light of the knowledge of the glory of God’ (…) after a great deal of study and thought we came up with pou nou sa wè klèté sala épi kopwann mizi gwan Bondyé gwan, ‘for us to be able to see that light and understand how great God is great.’ Here the abstract noun ‘knowledge’ was translated by a verb meaning ‘understand,’ and ‘the glory of God’ was translated as ‘how great God is great,’ using an adjective and an idiomatic grammatical construction that is natural in Creole.”

See also glory (Saint Lucian Creole French).

sorrow

The Greek that is translated in English as “painful” or “sorrow” is translated in Huba as “cut the insides.” David Frank explains: “Huba has just one expression that covers both ‘angry’ and ‘sad.’ They don’t make a distinction in their language. I suppose you could say that the term they use means more generically, ‘strong emotional reaction.’ (Source: David Frank in this blog post )

In Enlhet it is translated as “going aside of the innermost.” “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. )

footstool

The Hebrew and the Greek that is typically translated as “footstool” in English is translated as “(put your enemies) underneath your feet like grass” in Enxet. (Source: Reiling / Swellengrebel)

In Upper Guinea Crioulo it is “(put your enemies) under your feet so you can rest your feet on them.” (Source: David Frank in this blog post)

In Whitesands is is “door-cloth.” “This would be that rag at the door that you use to wipe your feet after walking in the dirt or mud. Similar to a doormat. The point of comparison would be that a door rag is so low in value/position compared to the one using it.” (Source: Greg Carlson)

comfort, encourage

The Greek that is translated in English as “encourage” or “comfort” is translated in Enlhet as “become calm of the innermost.” “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. )

In Bacama it is translated as “(to) cool stomach” (source: David Frank in this blog post ), in Yatzachi Zapotec as “cause hearts to mature,” and in Isthmus Zapotec “hearts may lie quiet” (source: Waterhouse / Parrott in Notes on Translation October 1967, p. 1ff.).

See also Seat of the Mind / Seat of Emotions and encourage.