give thanks

The Greek that is translated as “give thanks” in English is Tzotzil as “saying to God: Because of you.” (Source: B. Moore / G. Turner in Notes on Translation 1967, p. 1ff.)

Hosanna

The Hebrew that is typically transliterated as “Hosanna” in English is translated in various ways:

  • Aguaruna: “Happily let him come”
  • Asháninka: “Here is this one who will save us, this one who comes”
  • Yanesha’: “Let him be saved”
  • Xicotepec De Juárez Totonac: “Worship God”
  • Chol: “Greetings”
  • Waffa: “The one who saves us”
  • Navajo: “Let him be praised!”
  • Yatzachi Zapotec: “God will help us now” (source for this and above: M. Larson / B. Moore in Notes on Translation February 1970, p. 1-125)
  • Western Highland Chatino: “Thanks be to God that you have come here.” (source: B. Moore / G. Turner in Notes on Translation 1967, p. 1ff.)

I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners

The Greek that is translated in English as “I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners” is translated in Martu Wangka as “I came to the earth to teach bad people who are like those sick ones so that they can hear the Father’s word and become his relatives. I didn’t come for the good people — no.” (Source: Carl Gross)

In El Nayar Cora it is translated as “I came not to call those who think they language are good people, but those who think they are sinners.” (Source: B. Moore / G. Turner in Notes on Translation 1967, p. 1ff.)

In Huixtán Tzotzil, the first part is “those who mistakenly think their hearts are straight.” Huixtán Tzotzil frequently uses the verb -cuy to express “to mistakenly think something” from the point of view of the speaker. (Source: Marion M. Cowan in Notes on Translation 20/1966, p. 6ff.)

fast (verb)

The Aramaic, Hebrew and Greek that is translated as “fast” in English is translated in Isthmus Mixe as “going without food to worship God” and in Lacandon as “leaving eating in order to talk to God.” (Source: B. Moore / G. Turner in Notes on Translation 1967, p. 1ff.)

he sent two of his disciples

The Greek that is translated as “he sent two of his disciples” in English had to be translated in Mezquital Otomi: as !Jesus sent two of his disciples ahead to borrow a little donkey.” The implicit idea of borrowing the donkey had to be made explicit to avoid the wrong meaning that the instructions of verses 2 and 3 were for them to steal it. (Source: B. Moore / G. Turner in Notes on Translation 1967, p. 1ff.)

scripture

The Greek that is translated “scripture” or “scriptures” in English is translated as “God’s word which people wrote” in Guerrero Amuzgo (source: M. Larson / B. Moore in Notes on Translation February 1970, p. 1-125) and “paper writings” in Copainalá Zoque (source: B. Moore / G. Turner in Notes on Translation 1967, p. 1ff.).

While the term “Bible,” often used as a synonym, does not appear in the Bible itself, there’s an interesting translation of that word in Dehu. Missionaries had translated “Bible” as “Container of the Word” until they realized that this was also used for “penis sheath.” (Source: Clifford 1992, p. 87)

For other translations of scripture see all scripture is inspired by God and examined the scriptures.

he said

The Greek that is translated in English as “he said” or similar is translated in Shuar as ” but although he knew the young child was really dead, he said to them.” Commentaries are generally agreed that Jesus’ statement in this verse was not made to deny the actual death of the girl, but rather to suggest an immediate resurrection. In some languages, a literal and unexplained rendering of the statement by Jesus “the child is not dead” implied that he was not aware of her condition. In another it implied that he was attempting to deceive the people into thinking she was just sleeping. This attempted deceit was interpreted as an attempt to quiet the crowd and make them willing to go outside. (Source: B. Moore / G. Turner in Notes on Translation 1967, p. 1ff.)

marry

The Greek phrase that is (awkwardly) rendered as “people were marrying and being given in marriage” in some English versions (Good News Translation: “men and women married”) is rendered more straight-forwardly in Chechen and Khakas which uses different words for “marry” for men and women. (Source: David Clark)

In Tlahuitoltepec Mixe it is translated as “no one will go as a wife-seeker, and no one will cause his child to be married.” (Source: B. Moore / G. Turner in Notes on Translation 1967, p. 1ff.)

make His paths straight, make ready the way of the Lord

The Greek (originally quotes from the Hebrew in Isaiah) that is translated as “(make ready the way of the Lord,) make His paths straight” or something similar in English is translated in Sa’a as “You, tidy up well the paths that are dirty.” Carl Gross reports: “The Sa’a people have a practice which beautifully captures the idea expressed in the Isaianic quote. One line of this was rendered ‘You, tidy up well the paths that are dirty.’ This may conjure up the idea of an anti-litter campaign, but assurances were given that, before a feast when other villages would come to visit, or when an important person was about to come, the whole village would go out and tidy up the road, removing stones, branches, and other obstacles, as well as litter. It is a road maintenance exercise, as well as a way of welcoming honored visitors.” (Source: Carl Gross)

In Chol it says “Make straight the way of the Lord: Go, clean up the path of our Lord” (source: M. Larson / B. Moore in Notes on Translation February 1970, p. 1-125.), in Teutila Cuicatec “prepare your hearts; straighten out your thoughts, so that you will be ready to receive our Lord,” in Michoacán Nahuatl “prepare your hearts for our Lord as you would prepare a road for a person you would honor” and in Highland Oaxaca Chontal “when a great man arrives you sweep the road; you make it nice. Well, our master will arrive. For this reason make your minds good” (source: B. Moore / G. Turner in Notes on Translation 1967, p. 1ff.).

accuse

The Greek that is translated as “accuse him” in English is translated in Seri as “accuse him of doing that which was not permitted,” since an object to “accuse” was required. (Source: B. Moore / G. Turner in Notes on Translation 1967, p. 1ff.)

dug a pit for the wine press

The Greek that is translated as “dug a pit for the wine press” or similar in English is translated in Choapan Zapotec as “positioned a flat rock where he could squeeze out grape juice.” (Source: B. Moore / G. Turner in Notes on Translation 1967, p. 1ff.)