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)
  • San Blas Kuna: “smell the face” (source: Claudio and Marvel Iglesias in The Bible Translator 1951, p. 85ff.)
  • 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)
  • Colorado: earlier version: “greet in a friendly way,” later revision: “kiss on the face” (Bruce Moore [in: Notes on Translation 1/1992), p. 1ff.] explains: “Formerly, kissing had presented a problem. Because of the Colorados’ limited exposure to Hispanic culture they understood the kiss only in the eros context. Accordingly, the original translation had rendered ‘kiss’ in a greeting sense as ‘greet in a friendly way’. The actual word ‘kiss’ was not used. Today ‘kiss’ is still an awkward term, but the team’s judgment was that it could be used as long as long as it was qualified. So ‘kiss’ (in greeting) is now ‘kiss on the face’ (that is, not on the lips).)

men of renown

The Greek that is often translated as “men of renown” in English is translated in Western Lawa as “men who are like horns of a barking deer” (= famous men).

my blood of the covenant

The Greek that is translated as “this is my blood of the covenant” is translated into Tase Naga as “this is my blood that caused the covenant to come into being.”

cut into two, punish

The Greek that is translated into English either as “punish” or “cut into pieces” is translated into Lashi with an existing expression that says: “cut him into two.” This is exactly what the Greek word means.

heal (from infertility)

The Hebrew that is translated as “heal” (from infertility) in English could not be translated directly in Western Lawa. “Barrenness and impotency are not understood as sickness in the Western Lawa culture. Thus the verb ‘heal’ could not be used. Therefore the last part of the verse was translated: ‘Abimelech was saved from what God had planned to do to him. God caused his wife and women slaves to be able to have children like before.'”

See also barren.