wise as serpents

The Greek that is translated in English as “wise as serpents” is translated in Bambam as “take-guard like a langkasi (= a small animal similar to a squirrel).”

Phil Campbell explains: “The Bambam people just could not connect with the snakes as being shrewd, but they have a lot of traditional folk tales of a shrewd squirrel-like-animal. We did add a footnote to explain the literal meaning in the original.”

In Komba, the extended phrase that is translated in English as “be wise as serpents and innocent as doves” was translated as “live without falsity and with wisdom and straightness” since “the picture was too strange.” (Source: Deibler / Taylor 1977, p. 1076f.)

as numerous as the sand on the seashore

The Greek and Hebrew that is translated as “as numerous as the sand on the seashore” or “as numerous as the sand by the sea” in English is translated in Bauzi as “as many like the tree flowers of the jungle” (source: David Briley in Kroneman 2004, p. 539), in Afar translated as mari mangah arrooqih gide akkuk yeneeniih: “are as numerous as gravel” or loowo sinni: “not countable” (source: Loren Bliese), in Angal Heneng as “like the hairs on a dog” (Source: Deibler / Taylor 1977, p. 1077), and in Copainalá Zoque as “their number is like ants” (source: John Beekman in Notes on Translation, March 1965, p. 2ff.).

no greater joy

The Greek that is translated in English as “I have no greater joy” is translated in Sinasina is translated as ‘this happiness of mine surpasses all other happiness” since there is no comparative form (such as “greater”).

faith comes from what is heard and what is heard comes through the word of Christ

The Greek that is translated in English as “faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the word of Christ” or similar is translated in Muyuw as “they will preach the talk about Christ, then some will listen and believe” since Muyuw does not allow for verbal nominalization (where a term like “faith” can become a noun from a verb).

untie sandals

The Greek that is translated as “(not worthy to) untie sandals” or similar in English is translated in Awa as “because he is an important one, when he speaks I will be silent” since “the Jewish idea of not being worthy of even removing the sandals of an important person is foreign to Papua New Guinea.”

Other languages express it this way: “I am not worthy to be his servant” (Yatzachi Zapotec), “if unworthy I should even carry his burden, it would not be right” (Alekano), or “I don’t compare with him” (Tenango Otomi). (Source: M. Larson / B. Moore in Notes on Translation February 1970, p. 1-125.)

In Ayutla Mixtec it is translated as “I am too unworthy to perform even the lowliest of tasks for him” to avoid the wrong meaning of playing a trick by tying the sandals. In Choapan Zapotec the metaphor of the shoelaces is completely replaced by a similar one from the local culture: “I am not even important to carry his pack.” (Source for this and above: B. Moore / G. Turner in Notes on Translation 1967, p. 1ff.)

grace and truth

The Greek that is translated as “grace and truth” in English is translated in Fasu as “He gave free big help and true talk.” Like many languages, Fasu does not allow for verbal nominalization where a verb can be turned into a noun.

Shipibo-Conibo translates it as “only having good thought, only having true words.” (Source: M. Larson / B. Moore in Notes on Translation February 1970, p. 1-125.)

See also grace.

Twin

When in the Greek text Thomas is also referred to with a term that is translated in English as “Twin,” it was dropped for the Siane translation because it was found that the word had a bad connotation for the Siane and it was not im­portant for the understanding of the story.

for the grace of God has appeared bringing salvation to all

The Greek that is translated as “for the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all” or similar in English is translated in Wahgi as “God saying like this, ‘I desire to save without reward all people,’ sent Christ.” Like many languages, Wahgi not allow for verbal nominalization where a verb can be turned into a noun.

See also grace.

shadow (vs. spirit)

The Greek that is translated in English as “shadow” had to be translated in Dusun Witu as “sun shadow” because there is only one word for both “shadow” and “spirit.” (Source: Deibler / Taylor 1977, p. 1073.)

See also shadow.

grace be with you

The Greek that is translated into English as “grace be with you” or similar is translated into Iatmul as “I want God to help all of you freely.” Like many languages, Iatmul does not allow for verbal nominalization where a verb can be turned into a noun.

See also grace.

hemorrhage stopped

The Greek that is translated as “hemorrhage stopped” or “made well” in English was translated in Kalam with the regularly used expression “it was dried up.” (Source: Deibler / Taylor 1977, p. 1075.)

order of events (Acts 10:48)

In many languages, “events which are implied in a chrono­logical sequence need to be inserted in the translation. Acts 10:48 states, ‘he commanded them to be baptized . . . then they asked him to remain for some days;’ in Wahgi the additional actions ‘so they baptized them’ and ‘so Peter stayed with them’ had to be added so the readers would know both actions actually occurred.”