implicit information made explicit (Job 41:8)

The Hebrew is translated in English as “Lay hands on it [the Leviathan]; think of the battle; you will not do it again!” or similar. Here and in the Hebrew original the fear of touching the Leviathan again is implied. In Poqomchi’ it had to be made explicit with the addition of “because you’ll be very much afraid of him.”

See also Leviathan.

sword fell out

In the Hebrew text Joab drops his dagger (or: sword) in verse 8 and then uses it to stab Amasa in verse 10 without any mention that he picked it up again. In languages like Kaqchikel it is “necessary to mention that at some point he picked it up. This does seem to affect the element of surprise, but still in languages like Kaqchikel Joab cannot stab Amasa until he picks up his dagger.”

rejoice with trembling

The Hebrew that is translated as “rejoice with trembling” (or just: “trembling”) in English is translated in Poqomchi’ with the existing phrase “tremble with joy,” “so the source of the trembling seems to come from the joy and not from the fear of God.”

summon Bathsheba

The Hebrew that is typically translated as “summon Bathsheba” in English in 1 Kings 1:28 had to be translated in Q’anjob’al in a manner that explained that she first left away (since she is mentioned as present in the preceding verses). To circumnavigate this problem, the translators mention in verse 23 that Bathsheba left.

Tabor and Hermon joyously praise your name

Ron Ross talks about the problems of metaphors in translation in relation to Psalm 89:12 where The Hebrew is translated in English as “[the mountains] Tabor and Hermon joyously praise your name.” “[This] will be tough in many languages in which such metaphoric uses either sound ridiculous or are taken literally. This seems to be the case in Poqomchi’. When I suggested to the Poqomchi’ translator that he try to keep the image of the mountains singing, his response was that he could do that, because nothing is impossible for God.”

David eluded him twice

The Hebrew that is translated in English as “David eluded him twice” had to be translated more explicitly in San Blas Kuna. That translation first says that Saul threw the spear at him twice. “They couldn’t skip that step.”

Leviathan

The Hebrew and Greek that is translated in English as “Leviathan” is translated in Poqomchi’ as “monster crocodile.”

God of Elijah

The Hebrew that is translated in English as “(Where is) the God of Elijah” is difficult to translate in some Mayan languages. “If you say the God of Elijah, you are implying that he is not the God of Elisha. It has to be translated as something like, ‘Where is the power that God gave to Elijah.'”

my son / child

The Hebrew that is translated in English as “my son” or “my child” was translated in Poqomchi’ as hat wak’uun noq wilkaat: “you my son (as it were)” because “in many languages (including the Mayan ones), can only be said to one’s offspring.”

tied the money up in bags

The Hebrew that is translated as “tied [the money] up in bags” was problematic in the Kaqchikel translation. Ron Ross explains: “The Kaqchikels wanted to have them put the money in baskets, which is what they carry things in, but they agreed to using bags if we said something like ‘they put the money in bags in order to give them to those in charge of the remodeling of the temple.'”

front / back / left / right

The Hebrew of Ezekiel 1:10 is typically translated in English as “Each living creature had four different faces: a human face in front, a lion’s face at the right, a bull’s face at the left, and an eagle’s face at the back.” Tzeltal has no words for left, right, front or back, so translation is “Each living creature had four different faces: on one side of their head they had a human face, on another they had a lion’s face, on another they had a bull’s face and on the last side they had an eagle’s face.” (Source: Ronald Ross in Omanson 2001, p. 361)