hovering over the face of the waters

The Hebrew that is translated into English as “moving (or: hovering) over the (sur)face of the waters” is translated into Ebira as “(the spirit of God) stayed above the water doing NANANA [ideophone].” (Source: Rob Koops)

In Bari it is translated with bibirto, “which is used of a bird hovering over its nest or fluttering round a bunch of ripe bananas.” (Source: Source: P. Guillebaud in The Bible Translator 1965, p. 189ff.)

In Kutu it is translated as “spreading over the water” and in Nyamwezi as ku’elela: “to circle around slowly over water, without touching it.” In Kwere it is translated with katanda, which carries the meaning of being ‘spread out’ over the water as one would spread a blanket out over a bed. (Source: Pioneer Bible Translators, project-specific translation notes in Paratext)

bribe

The Hebrew that is translated into “(taking) bribes” in English is rendered as “receive punch underneath” in Upper Guinea Crioulo.

prophesy

The Hebrew and the Greek that are translated in English versions as “prophesy” are translated into Anuak as “sing a song” (source: Loren Bliese), into Balanta-Kentohe as “passing on message of God” (source: Rob Koops), and into Ixcatlán Mazatec with a term that does not only refer to the future, but is “speak on behalf of God” (source: Robert Bascom).

Other translations include: “God making someone to show something in advance” (Ojitlán Chinantec), “God causing someone to think and then say it” (Aguaruna), “speaking God’s thoughts” (Shipibo-Conibo), “God made someone say something” “Xicotepec De Juárez Totonac) (source for this and above: M. Larson / B. Moore in Notes on Translation February 1970, p. 1-125), “proclaim God’s message” (Teutila Cuicatec), “speak for God” (Chichimeca-Jonaz), “preach the Word of God” (Lalana Chinantec), “speak God’s words” (Tepeuxila Cuicatec), “that which God’s Spirit will cause one to say one will say” (Mayo) (source for this and four above: Viola Waterhouse in Notes on Translation August 1966, p. 86ff.), and “say what God wants people to hear” (tell people God wod dat e gii oona fa say) (Gullah) (source: Robert Bascom).

In Luang it is translated with different shades of meaning:

  • For Acts 3:18, 3:21, 3:25: nurwowohora — “mouth says words that don’t come from one’s own mind.” (“This term refers to an individual’s speaking words that are not his because either a good or bad spirit is at work through him. The speaker is not in control of himself.”)
  • For Acts 19:6, Acts 21:9: nakotnohora — “talk about.” (“The focus of this term is on telling God’s message for the present as opposed to the future.”)
  • For Acts 21:11: rora — “foretell” (“The focus of this term is giving God’s message concerning the future. The person who speaks is aware of what he is doing and he is using his own mind, yet it is with God’s power that he foretells the future.”)

Source: Kathy Taber in Notes on Translation 1/1999, p. 9-16.

See also prophet and prophesy / prophetic frenzy.

slave

The Greek that is translated in English as “slave” (or “servant”) is translated in Balanta-Kentohe as “a bought person.”

apostle, apostles

The Greek term that is usually translated as “apostle(s)” in English is (back-) translated in the following ways:

Scot McKnight (in The Second Testament, publ. 2023) translates it into English as commissioner.

In American Sign Language it is translated with a combination of the signs for “following” plus the sign for “authority” to differentiate it from disciple. (Source: RuthAnna Spooner, Ron Lawer)


“apostles” in American Sign Language, source: Deaf Harbor

chaste behavior, pure, pure conduct

The Greek in 1 Peter 3:2 that is translated in English as “pure conduct” (or “chaste behavior”) is translated in Balanta-Kentohe as “good walk.” (Source: Rob Koops)

The standalone term that is translated as “pure” is translated in Mezquital Otomi as “that which cleanses one’s thoughts,” and in Alekano as “making our insides white.” (Source: Ellis Deibler in Notes on Translation July, 1967, p. 5ff.).

See also snow (color).