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.” (Source: project-specific translation notes in Paratext)

sanctification, sanctify

The Greek that is translated in English as “sanctify” or “sanctification” is translated in Balanta-Kentohe “separated to God.” (Source: Rob Koops)

Other translations include:

  • San Blas Kuna: “giving a man a good heart”
  • Panao Huánuco Quechua: “God perfects us”
  • Laka: “God calls us outside to Himself” (“This phrase is derived from the practice of a medicine man, who during the initiation rites of apprentices calls upon the young man who is to follow him eventually and to receive all of his secrets and power. From the day that this young man is called out during the height of the ecstatic ceremony, he is identified with his teacher as the heir to his position, authority, and knowledge.”) (Source for this and above: Nida 1952, p. 147)
  • Mezquital Otomi: “live a pure life”
  • Hopi: “unspotted”
  • Yatzachi Zapotec: “clean-hearted”
  • Huehuetla Tepehua: “be servants of God”
  • Central Tarahumara: “only live doing good as God desires” (source for this and four above: Waterhouse / Parrott in Notes on Translation October 1967, p. 1ff.)
  • Mairasi: “one’s life/behavior will be very straight” (source: Enggavoter 2004)
  • Enlhet: “new / clean innermost” (“Innermost” or valhoc is a term that is frequently used in Enlhet to describe a large variety of emotions or states of mind (for other examples see here).) (Source: Jacob Loewen in The Bible Translator 1969, p. 24ff. )
The choices for translation of “sanctification” in the Indonesian Common Language Bible (Alkitab dalam Bahasa Indonesia Masa Kini, publ. 1985) differed according to context. (Click or tap here to see details)

“In Romans, hagiasmos [“sanctification”] occurs twice in chapter 6, in verses 19 and 22. It is used in relation to believers who are called to be saints (1:7), who are under grace (6:15), who have been set free from sin to become slaves of righteousness (6:18). Therefore here hagiasmos not only refers to God’s act of consecration, but also to the believer’s moral activity arising out of this state. It is this aspect that the translators have stressed in verse 19: ‘… so now yield your members to righteousness for sanctification’ has been translated untuk maksud-maksud Allah yang khusus: ‘for God’s specific purposes.’ So also in verse 22 ‘… the return you get is sanctification’ has been translated hidup khusus untuk Allah: ‘living for God alone.’

“!In 1 Corinthians 1:30: ‘… in Christ Jesus, whom God made our wisdom, our righteousness and sanctification and redemption,’ hagiasmos is put in a parallel position to wisdom, righteousness and redemption, and is rooted in Christ. In view of the parallel concepts, it is clear a result is indicated here. The believers are holy because they are ‘in Christ’ who is intrinsically holy. Hagiasmos here has been rendered as: umatnya yang khusus: ‘his own people.’

“In 1 Thessalonians 4:3-7, hagiasmos involves abstaining from unchastity (verse 3) and is contrasted with uncleanness (verse 7), while in verse 4 it is used as a parallel with ‘honor’ to modify the verb. Hagiasmos is here rooted in the will of God, and calls for moral conduct. The translators translate hagiasmos in verse 3 as hidup khusus untuk dia: ‘live for him alone,’ and in verses 4 and 5 menyenangkan hati Allah: ‘pleasing God’s heart.’

“The expression in 2 Thessalonians 2:13 ‘sanctification by the spirit’ (en hagiasmo pneumatos), is generally understood as sanctification or consecration effected by the Holy Spirit. This consecration was effected at the moment of conversion. The translation here is umat Allah yang suci: ‘God’s holy people.’

“The noun also appears in the Pastorals once (1 Timothy 2:15), where, in view of the context, it clearly denotes ethical behavior. The translators translate as hidup khusus untuk Allah: ‘living for God alone,’ but perhaps it would be better here to translate it with hidup tanpa vela: ‘lead a blameless life,’ which would suit the context better.

“In conclusion then, to translate hagiasmos in a way that is meaningful to the average modern reader, it may often be necessary to render it by a phrase which brings out the primary meaning of the term. If it refers to the act of consecration, this phrase should include the notion of belonging to God, and if it refers to the conduct of the believer, the phrase should stress the idea of pleasing God and refraining from evil.” (Source: Pericles Katoppo in The Bible Translator 1987, p. 429ff. )

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.

apostle, apostles

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

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).

dome, expanse, firmament

The Hebrew that is translated as “firmament,” “expanse,” or “dome” in English is translated in Roviana as galegalearane: “the open space between the earth and the sky” and in Moru as “empty space.”

In Idoma it is translated as okpanco — “the top of the sky.” “According to tradition, when the world began, the okpanco was low. A woman was pounding yams and her pestle kept hitting okpanco and it started going higher and higher.”

In Naskapi it is translated as “sky skin” — “like a caribou skin.”

(Sources: Roviana: Carl Gross; Moru: Jan Sterk; Idoma: Rob Koops; Naskapi: Doug Lockhart in Word Alive 2013 )

In Lingala it is translated as “surface.” Sigurd F. Westberg (in The Bible Translator 1956, p. 117ff. ) explains: “The ‘firmament’ in Genesis 1 gave us another problem. Its meaning in English is certainly not immediately obvious. The dictionary tells us that the Hebrew means something close to our English word ’expanse.’ It seems, however, that the Hebrew idea may not always have been as abstract as that, for Isaiah says that the Lord ‘stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in.’ But the Greek word used in the Septuagint gives the idea of a firm and solid structure, and this is the idea that is carried out in our English word ‘firmament.’ Modern translations into English, Swedish, Norwegian and French take one or the other of these two leads. It is the predicament of the translator that he dare not hesitate too long between ideas. (…) In this case we tried to arrive at ’expanse’ by the use of a word meaning ’width,’ but we found that it is not really understandable except as it is associated with the noun of which it indicates the width. It cannot be used alone. The word we finally used means ‘surface,’ but it also has the idea of something stretched out or smoothed out. It is more concrete than we should like, but it does not require identity with a concrete object as does the word for width’.’

In Newari it is translated as “upper part of water” (Gen. 1:6 is translated “height between two portions of water.”) (Source: Newari Back Translation)

In Tenharim a translation for “firmament” was not deemed possible because there were no overlaps in the world view of the Tenharim speakers and that of the cosmology of Genesis. LaVera Betts (in: Notes on Translation, September 1971, p. 16ff.) explains: “[In their view,] heaven’s edge is curbed and solid. It can become meshed releasing the water above it onto the clouds, which to the Parintintín [the Tenharim speakers] are gathered wind, in order for this water to be dispersed in the form of rain. An entrance, position and description unknown, is available to the occupants of the layers of heaven through which they may pass to the world. To each layer of heaven and heaven as a whole they apply the same word: yvaga.

“The sun, moon, and stars attach to the world’s side of heaven’s edge. The sun and moon have separate paths-the moon making a half revolution and returning, and the sun making a complete revolution. No all-inclusive term for the heavenly bodies, earth, and the expanse between them so far has been encountered in Parintintín. Nor has there been found a suitable term for this expanse alone. During the day the expanse could be called the open/clear space: mytuêa; but at night it disappears into heaven and night takes its place. Its occurrence, then, is contingent on the presence of light and therefore inappropriate for expressing firmament (Gen 1:6).

“To translate ‘firmament’ as a vault the translator possibly could have used heaven’s edge which, although suiting their world view grandly, poses problems in the translator’s mind especially as to the restricted meaning it would force on the translation for them. That a good shaman is believed to be able to bring heaven down immediately over the earth reveals that to them the expanse over the earth is empty, or compressible and flexible, and the ‘vault’ movable.

“The possible translation of atmosphere for firmament was settled upon and the term used was ‘wind’: yvytua. The phrase ‘and God called the firmament heaven’ was deleted. A possible alternate ‘and God called the place of the wind heaven’ also was not used as Coriolano [the indigenous translator] did not know where the wind went when it is not seen in the form of clouds nor felt; however, he insisted the wind is everlasting — unlike one’s breath which is not lasting. Animates do not breathe air/wind but their hearts pump their own breath.”

medium

The Hebrew that is translated as “medium” in English is translated in Basa as “the people of the grave.”