loves his life - hates his life

The Greek that is translated as “loves his life” and “hates his life” in English is translated into Maru (Lhao Vo) as “protecting one’s life for oneself” (for “loves his life”) and “not stingy with one’s life” (for “hates his own life”).


The Hebrew that is often translated as “courageous” in English is translated in Iu Mien as “blow up your gall-bladder.”

See also courageous.


The Greek that is often translated in English as “zeal” is translated in Moken as “great love” (“my zeal” — cewui lak tho: “my great love.”) (Source: Gam Seng Shae)

In Ixcatlán Mazatec it is likewise translated in these verses as “love, commitment, enthusiasm” (not jealousy). (Source: Robert Bascom)

cover us

The Greek that is translated as “they will begin to say … to the hills, ‘Cover us.’” in English is translated into Pwo Eastern Karen as “they will beg … the cliffs, ‘Please cover us with landslide.'” (Just one verb in Pwo Eastern Karen to say “cover with landslide.”)

steadfastness of Christ

The Greek that is often translated in English as “steadfastness (or: perseverance) of Christ” is translated in Moken as “you may receive the ability to suffer pain and hardship from Christ.”


The Greek that is translated as “speechless” in English is translated in Lashi as “he had no reply whatsoever.”

power (abstract noun)

Akha cannot directly translate the abstract noun “power” in what is translated into English as “you will see the Son of man seated at the right hand of Power,” it has to be the power of so and so. Thus the translation reads “the powerful God” here.


The Hebrew and the Greek that is usually directly translated as “kiss” in English is translated more indirectly in other languages because kissing is deemed as inappropriate, is not a custom at all, or is not customary in the particular context (see the English translation of J.B. Phillips, 1960 in Rom. 16:16: “Give each other a hearty handshake”). Here are some examples:

  • Pökoot: “greet warmly” (“kissing in public, certainly between men, is absolutely unacceptable in Pökoot.”) (Source: Gerrit van Steenbergen)
  • Chamula Tzotzil, Ixcatlán Mazatec, Tojolabal: “greet each other warmly” or “hug with feeling” (source: Robert Bascom)
  • Afar: “gaba tittal ucuya” (“give hands to each other”) (Afar kiss each other’s hands in greeting) (source: Loren Bliese)
  • Roviana: “welcome one another joyfully”
  • Cheke Holo: “Love each other in the way-joined-together that is holy” (esp. in Rom. 16:16) or “greet with love” (esp. 1Thess. 5:26 and 1Pet. 5.14)
  • Pitjantjatjara: “And when you meet/join up with others of Jesus’ relatives hug and kiss them [footnote], for you are each a relative of the other through Jesus.” Footnote: “This was their custom in that place to hug and kiss one another in happiness. Maybe when we see another relative of Jesus we shake hands and rejoice.” (esp. Rom. 16:16) (source for this and two above: Carl Gross)
  • Balanta-Kentohe and Mandinka: “touch cheek” or “cheek-touching” (“sumbu” in Malinka)
  • Mende: “embrace” (“greet one another with the kiss of love”: “greet one another and embrace one another to show that you love one another”) (source for this and two above: Rob Koops)
  • Gen: “embrace affectionately” (source: John Ellington)
  • Kachin: “holy and pure customary greetings” (source: Gam Seng Shae)
  • Kahua: “smell” (source: David Clark) (also in Ekari and Kekchí, source: Reiling / Swellengrebel)
  • Nyanja: “to suck” (“habit and term a novelty amongst the young and more or less westernized people, the traditional term for greeting a friend after a long absence being, ‘to clap in the hands and laugh happily'”)
  • Medumba: “suck the cheek” (“a novelty, the traditional term being ‘to embrace.'”)
  • Shona (version of 1966): “to hug”
  • Balinese: “to caress” (source for this and three above: Reiling / Swellengrebel)