bread, loaf

The Greek term that is translated in English as “bread” or “loaf” is translated in Samo, it is translated as “Sago,” which serves “like ‘bread’ for the Hebrews, as a generic for food in the Samo language. It is a near-perfect metonymy that has all the semantic elements necessary for effective communication.” (Source: Daniel Shaw in: Scriptura 96/2007, p. 501ff.)

In Chol as waj, the equivalent of a tortilla.

John Beekman (in The Bible Translator 1962, p. 180f.) explains: “The word ‘bread’ in Scripture primarily occurs as either a specific term for bread (including the Lord’s Supper), or as a generic term for food. It is not surprising, however, the some aboriginal groups use something other than bread as the staff of life. The Chols, with their cultural focus in the cultivation of corn, use waj, a type of thin corn flake. Since a meal is not complete without this main item of food, the term has been extended to include any other foods which may be served along with waj. While bread is known to them, its use is limited to a few occasions during the year when it functions as a dessert. In translating this term in the Chol New Testament, consistent use has been made of the word waj whenever the function of bread as a basic food was in focus. John 6:35, “I am the bread of life,” was thus translated with this word. If the word for bread had been used, it was feared that the Chol would compare Christ to the desirable, but not absolutely necessary, dessert.”

Robert Bascom adds his thoughts to this in relation to other Mayan languages (in Omanson 2001, p. 260: “In many Mayan languages, ‘bread’ can be translated waj or kaxlan waj. The first term literally means anything made from corn meal, while the second term literally means ‘foreigner’s waj,’ and refers to the local wheat-based sweet breads which are so popular within the broader European-influenced culture of the region. On the one hand, waj would be a better dynamic equivalent in cases where ‘bread’ meant ‘food,’ but in cases where the focus is literal or the reference well-known, kaxlan waj would preserve a flour-based meaning (though in biblical times barley was more in use than wheat) and not insert corn into a time and place where it does not belong. On the other hand kaxlan waj is not the staff of life, but refers to a local delicacy. In cases such as these, it is even tempting to suggest borrowing pan, the Spanish word for ‘bread,’ but native speakers might respond that borrowing a foreign word is not necessary since both waj and kaxlan waj are native terms that cover the meaning (though in this case, perhaps not all that well).”

complete verse (3John 1:1)

Following are a number of back-translation of 3John 1:1:

Yatzachi Zapotec: “I in my old age am writing to you dear Gayo. Truly I love you.”

Eastern Highland Otomi: “I am the Old-Man Leader, I am sending this paper to you, dear Gaius, loved one. And also I love you in regards to the true Word which we (dual) believe.”

Isthmus Zapotec: “I am an old man. I am writing this letter to a friend of mine, (whose) name is Gayo, whom I truly love.”

Garifuna: “I, an elderly person, write to my friend the one named Gayo (necessary to avoid the connotation of writing to a rooster), the one whom I love. I love you with all my heart (genuine love).”

Source: John Beekman in Notes on Translation 12, November 1964, p. 1ff.

I came that they might have life and have it abundantly

The Greek that is translated as “I came that they might have life, and have it abundantly” or similar in English has been translated in a a variety of ways:

  • Huehuetla Tepehua: “I came so that people might have life, and that they might be happy in their lives.”
  • Aguaruna: “But I, on the other hand, came saying ‘That they might live; that they might live contentedly, lacking nothing.'”
  • Yatzachi Zapotec: “I came in order to give eternal life and so that they would be extremely happy.”
  • Shipibo-Conibo: “I have come so that the sheep will live, and so that they will live very well.”
  • Asháninka: “I came to give them life, to really give them all life.”
  • Yanesha’: “For this I came, so that you will live, completely exceedingly.”
  • Xicotepec De Juárez Totonac: “I have come in order to give them their new life, which is better life.” (Source for this and above: John Beekman in Notes on Translation 12, November 1964, p. 1ff.)

Word of life

The Greek that is translated as “Word of life” in most English versions is translated as “the one named Word, the one who gives life” in Garifuna and “the one called word that is in charge of all life” in Tzotzil.

Source: John Beekman in Notes on Translation November 1964, p. 1-22.

shake off the dust from your feet

The Greek that is translated as “shake off the dust from your feet” in English is translated in this occurrence in Matt. 10:14 as “shake off the dust from your feet to show renunciation” in Estado de México Otomi for clarification. In the other passages in Mark, Luke and Acts the Greek text gives a clarification as well. (Source: John Beekman in Notes on Translation, March 1965, p. 2ff.)

See also shake the dust off your feet.

bread of life

The Greek that is translated in English is translated in Bambam as “food of life” since “bread is considered a light and unnecessary snack.” (Source: Phil Campbell in Kroneman 2004, p. 500) Similarly, Huehuetla Tepehua has “that food that gives eternal life” and Aguaruna has “the food that gives eternal life.” (Source: M. Larson / B. Moore in Notes on Translation February 1970, p. 1-125)

In Chol, it is translated as Joñon Wajo, the “waj (tortilla) of life.” John Beekman (in The Bible Translator 1962, p. 180f.) explains: “The word ‘bread’ in Scripture primarily occurs as either a specific term for bread (including the Lord’s Supper), or as a generic term for food. It is not surprising, however, the some aboriginal groups use something other than bread as the staff of life. The Chols, with their cultural focus in the cultivation of corn, use waj, a type of thin corn flake. Since a meal is not complete without this main item of food, the term has been extended to include any other foods which may be served along with waj. While bread is known to them, its use is limited to a few occasions during the year when it functions as a dessert. In translating this term in the Chol New Testament, consistent use has been made of the word waj whenever the function of bread as a basic food was in focus. John 6:35, “I am the bread of life,” was thus translated with this word. If the word for bread had been used, it was feared that the Chol would compare Christ to the desirable, but not absolutely necessary, dessert.”

See also bread, loaf.

he loved them to the end

The Greek that is translated as “he loved them to the end” or similar in English is translated as “there wasn’t any limit to his love” in Tenango Otomi. (Source: John Beekman in Notes on Translation 12, November 1964, p. 1ff.)

whitewashed wall

The Greek that is translated in English as “(you) whitewashed wall” is translated in Lalana Chinantec much more specifically as “you are like a masonry wall on which they have put white paint. It is no longer evident what it is like inside.” (Source: John Beekman in Notes on Translation, March 1965, p. 2ff.).

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.).