The Greek and Hebrew that are translated as “(become) pregnant” in English is rendered in Sranan Tongo and Kituba, “having two bodies” (Indonesian), “be-of-womb” (Sinhala), “heavy” (Balinese), “in-a-fortunate-state” (Batak Toba). (Source: Reiling / Swellengrebel)
In Kafa it is translated as “having two lives.” (Source: Loren Bliese)
In Mairasi it is translated as “have a soul [ghost].” (Source: Enggavoter, 2004)
The Greek terms that are translated as “five thousand” and “four thousand” in these verses have to be translated descriptively in some languages, such as “ant heap” (Shona) or “large/uncountable number” (Nyanja, Yao).
Some languages have distinctive terms for congenital and non-congenital blindness. The Greek that is translated here as “blind” in English is translated with the term for the non-congenital blindness in Yatzachi Zapotec.
Other terms for “blind” include “(having) eyes dark/night” in Ekari or “having no eyes” in Zarma.
Sources: Reiling / Swellengrebel and Nida 1964, p. 200.
The Greek term that is translated as “apostle(s)” in English is (back-) translated in the following ways:
The Greek that is translated literally as “horn of salvation” and more idiomatically as “mighty savior” in most English versions is translated along those lines in many languages as well. In Uab Meto, however the term for “horn” is also used metaphorically for “hero” and in Balinese the term for “tusk,” which suggests “champion/hero” (source: Reiling / Swellengrebel).
In Uma, it is translated as “a powerful War chief who brings salvation” and in Una as “a very powerful Person to us who will rescue people” (source: Dick Kroneman).
The Greek that is rendered as “faithful” in English is (back-) translated in various ways:
- Toraja-Sa’dan: “honest/straight”
- Inupiaq: “unchangeable”
- Highland Totonac “who fulfils” (source for this and above: Reiling / Swellengrebel)
- Tsou: “actively following closely” (source: Peng Kuo-Wei)
- Mende: “doesn’t turn this way and that” (source: Rob Koops)
- Sinasina: “follow well” (source: ParaTExt Consultant Notes)
See also faith / believe.
The Greek that is translated into English as “delivered (to us)” or “handed down (to us)” is rendered as “we had heard them from the mouth of men who…” (Sranan Tongo), “to make known” (Kannada), “to show causing (us) to know” (Thai) or “to cause-to-receive” (Balinese, using a verb that also has the meaning “to bequeath an inheritance”).
The Greek that is translated as “is acceptable” or “is welcome” in English is translated as “well received” (Sinhala), “to be considered-good” (Tae’), “to be liked” (Sundanese), “to be cherished” (Chuukese), “to be popular” (Pohnpeian), “to be believed with respect” (Kele), or “to be listened to” (Tboli).
The Greek that is translated as “(I am) ready” in English is translated as “my-heart is-willing” in Indonesian, “it will be my-inner-being” in Tae’, “I-cause-to-be-willing my soul” in Toraja-Sa’dan, or “with one heart” in Tzeltal.
The Greek that is mostly translated as “virgin” in English can be translated as “woman that is untouched” (a qualification current also for an object that has never been used) in Batak Toba or “a woman with a whole (i.e. unopened) body” in Uab Meto. In some cases, however, such terms, or descriptive phrases like, “a woman who has not been with a man,” are felt to be too outspoken. Hence, in English versions the rendering has been toned down from “virgin,” via “maiden” (Goodspeed 1923/1935, Rieu 1954), to “girl” (New English Bible 1961/1970), and in Batak Toba from “woman that is untouched” to “girl” (lit. “female child”). Similar words for “girl,” “unmarried young woman,” suggesting virginity without explicitly stating it, are found in Marathi, Apache, or Kituba. Cultural features naturally influence connotations of possible renderings, for instance, the child marriage customs in some Tboli areas, where the boy and girl are made to sleep together at the initial marriage, but after that do not live together and may not see each other again for years. Hence, the closest attainable equivalent, “female adolescent,” does not imply that a young girl is not living with her husband, and that she never had a child, but leaves uncertain whether she has ever slept with a male person or not. Accordingly, in Luke one has to depend on Luke 1:34 to make clear that Mary and Joseph had not had sexual intercourse. A different problem is encountered in Pampanga, where “birhen” (an adaptation of Spanish “virgen” — “virgin”), when standing alone, is a name of the “Virgin Mary.” To exclude this meaning the version uses “marriageable birhen,” thus at the same time indicating that Mary was relatively young. (Source: Reiling / Swellengrebel)
In Navajo, the term that is used is “no husband yet” (Source: Wallis, p. 106) and in Gola the expression “trouser girl.” “In the distant past young women who were virgins wore trousers. Those who were not virgins wore dresses. That doesn’t hold true anymore, but the expression is still there in the language.” (Source: Don Slager)
The term in Djimini Senoufo is katogo jo — “village-dance-woman” (women who have been promised but who are still allowed to go to dances with unmarried women). (Source: Übersetzung heute 3/1995)
The Greek that is translated as “cross” in English is often referred to a description of the shape (in Chinese, for instance it is translated as 十字架 shízìjià — “10-character-frame” because the character for “10” has the shape of a cross), elsewhere it refers to the function, e.g. a coined term, made up of two Sanskrit words, meaning “killing-pole” (Marathi NT revision of 1964), “wood to-stretch-out-with” (Toraja-Sa’dan), or “nailing pole” (Zarma). A combination of the two seems to be used in Balinese, which employs a word for the crossbeams in a house, derived from a verb that can refer both to a beam that stretches from side to side under a roof, and to a person stretched out for torture (source for this and above: Reling / Swellengrebel). Similarly, in Lamba it is translated “with umutaliko — ‘a pole with a cross-piece, on which maize was normally tied’ from the verb ‘talika’ which, strangely enough, is used of ‘holding down a man with arms and legs stretched out, someone gripping each limb.'” (Source C. M. Doke in The Bible Translator 1958, p. 57ff.)
“In Mongolian, the term that is used is togonoltchi mott, which is found in the top of a tent. The people on the steppes live in round felt-yurts and the round opening on the top of the tent serves as a window. The crosswood in that opening is called togonoltchi mott. ‘Crucified’ is translated ‘nailed on the crosswood.’ This term is very simple, but deep and interesting too. Light comes to men through the Cross. What a privilege to be able to proclaim such a message.” (Source: A. W. Marthinson in The Bible Translator 1954, p. 74ff.)
In Mairasi it is translated as iwo nasin ae: “chest measurement wood.” “This term refers to the process of making a coffin when a person dies. The man making the coffin takes a piece of bamboo and measures the body from head to heel. He then breaks the stick off at the appropriate point. For the width he measures the shoulders and then ties the two sticks together in the shape of a cross. As he works, he continually measures to make sure the coffin is the correct size. At the gravesite, the coffin is lowered. Then the gravecloth, palm leaves, and finally the chest measurement stick are laid on top of the coffin before the dirt is piled on. This term is full of meaning, because it is in the shape of a cross, and each person will have one. The meaning is vividly associated with death.” (Source: Enggavoter, 2004)
See also crucify.