complete verse (John 1:14)

Following are a number of back-translations of John 1:14:

  • Aguaruna: “That word, when he arrived here, was born a human being, and in this way he lived with us. That completely good person was a speaker of the truth. And also we came to know his greatness because his Father, God, had said to his only Son, ‘You are great.'”
  • Yatzachi Zapotec: “The Person who is the Word was born human and he was with us. He loved mankind very much and he taught mankind all the true words of God. We saw him and we realized that he is the Person of greatest worth because he is the only Son of our Father God.”
  • Xicotepec De Juárez Totonac: “And the One who is called Word, he became a Person, and he lived in our midst. And we saw how he had power. That power is that of the only Son of Father God. He is very kind and merciful and all which he says it is true.” (Source for this and above: M. Larson / B. Moore in Notes on Translation February 1970, p. 1-125.)
  • Uma: “That Word, he became man[kind], and he lived among us (incl.). We (excl.) saw his power. That power of his he received from his Father, for He is the Only Child. [It is] from him that we know God and his grace [lit., white insides] to us.” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “So-then, the Word appeared/was-born here in the world having a human body and living among mankind. All love and truth was there with him. We (excl.) were-able to see his power and his brightness, and this his power and brightness were fitting for him for he is the only Son of God.” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “And the one called the Word of God became human and joined himself to us. He is very gracious and his words are very true. We saw his great high rank which is the high rank of the only child of God. And as for that high rank of his, it was given to him by his Father God.” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “The Word, he became a person and stayed-with us (excl.). He was consistently-compassionate and what he said was all true. We (excl.) saw his godhood which was the godhood of the only Child of God who came-from his Father.” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “This Jesus who is called Word, he became a human and then lived here in the world together-with us. His praiseworthiness/glory was experienced by our (excl.) eyes, this glory of his being the glory of the one-and-only Son/child of God the Father. We (excl.) also comprehended the big-size of his grace/mercy and that everything which he revealed/came-out-with is indeed truth.” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)
  • Tenango Otomi: “He who makes known how God is became a person. He lived here where we live. We saw that he is the greatest. He is the greatest because he is God’s only son. He spoke only what is true and he loves the people without limit.” (Source: Tenango Otomi Back Translation)
  • Anindilyakwa: “And that same one who revealed God who was hidden from us, he became a human being like us. He was born, he had flesh and bones and then he lived here and went around with us people. He is rich in love, he was very kind and he kept on and on speaking the truth. We saw that he was the leading powerful and beautiful one, the one who was his Father’s one and only Son, the one who came from his Father to here.” (Source: Julie Waddy in The Bible Translator 2004, p. 452ff.)

complete verse (Ephesians 5:18)

Following are a number of back-translations of Ephesians 5:18:

  • Uma: “Don’t be drunk, for that causes evil desires to appear. We must be controlled by the Holy Spirit. From that power of the Holy Spirit,” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “You should not be/get drunk because it destroys you. Instead that’s what you should do, you should allow/let God’s Spirit rule over you.” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “Dont’t you get drunk on wine because this can destroy you; but rather, it’s necessary that you are thoroughly inspired by the Holy Spirit.” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “Don’t be getting drunk, because that of course is destructive, but rather be full of the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “Be disgusted now with the habit of getting drunk, for that is what takes you to a messed up life (lit: life which has no fixing-up). It’s necessary that it’s not alcoholic-drink which is controlling and guiding-you-from-within, but rather the Espiritu Santo now.” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)
  • Tenango Otomi: “In order to live happily, do not give your heart to getting drunk. Because the drunkard is hurting himself. Rather give your hearts up to the Holy Spirit who will teach you what you must do.” (Source: Tenango Otomi Back Translation)
  • Rotuman: “And you (3 or more) to not (get) drunk [lit.: poisoned] with wine, (a) thing that causes violent character; be full (filled) instead with (the) Holy Spirit.” (Ma ’au la se ’oan ’e uaini, tēet ne ho’ ag rạhrạhi; ’an la hoi ke ‘e ’At Ha’a) (for an analysis of this translation, click or tap here)

    “This text has been widely used as a proof text for the ‘Spirit-filled life’ by the so-called Holy Spirit movement. It has therefore been the focus of much interest and controversy among Rotuman readers as to its true meaning.

    “As with all translation, it is important to understand not just the meaning intended by the translator, but also what the readers and hearers take the words to mean. We will try to illustrate this in the comments that follow.

    Ma … la se. Beginning a sentence with ma gives this conjunction a much stronger force that usual, like saying, ‘But . . . must . . .’ Likewise the use of la with the negative se is also a strong expression, ‘Beware to not …’

    ’an. This plural, referring to three or more people is well understood in Rotuman: ‘you and you and you and . . .’ Any address, or warning, or instruction to the community is always to ’au. This includes all listeners, men, women, young, and old.

    “’oan, ‘drunk’, literally means to be poisoned. The same word is used of fish poisoning, or any other food poisoning or overdose. With wine, the kind it obviously seems to refer to is the new wine which is still bubbling. Fruit wine at this early stage of fermentation is bubbling and foamy, and very poisonous.

    “Community drinking is always by a group (of men). If one person is drinking alone, he is selfish; if only two are drinking together, they arc secretive. Some of the purposes of such community drinking are:

    • relaxation after a hard day’s work
    • sharing, reflecting, evaluating the day’s work
    • leaving lime for the womenfolk to cook dinner
    • guarding against individuals getting drunk

    “‘To not get drunk (poisoned) with wine’ implies certain things. It can mean that moderate drinking is all right; it can mean that drinking is all right unless it causes a person to stagger or vomit. It can also mean that wine is prohibited, but other intoxicating drinks such as kava are allowed.

    Uaini is a transliteration of the English word ‘wine’. So does this verse speak only of Eastern wine or Western wine, wine made from grapes? The island brew is made from fruit such as oranges, pineapples, bananas, mangoes. The best is reckoned to be what is made from the juice of a green coconut, and this is always white, not red.

    “In fact tēet means ‘a thing’, and it never refers to a liquid like wine. And it is really the excessive drinking rather than the nature of the drink that leads to violence. But in normal community drinking no one drinks to get drunk—it is only an after-work pre-dinner fellowship.

    Ho’ means to ‘pile up’. The picture is of a person gradually getting more and more drunk, which eventually leads to violent behaviour.

    ag rahrahi. This expression is made up of two terms, aga or ‘character’, and rạhrạhi (from the root rạhi. ‘fire’), ‘rekindled fire’. It is thus intended to mean fiery or violent character. But it can also be understood in a number of other ways:

    • ‘recklessness’ — and this does not mean the unlawful use of force
    • ‘bravery’ or acting the daredevil
    • ‘prodigality’ or a life of gaiety
    • masculine, ‘macho’ behaviour, without any suggestion of immodesty. (Parents enjoy watching their sons grow up with some wildness in their behaviour.)
    • ‘reconciling’, as the rekindled fire cleans up all inflammable rubbish
    • ‘consistent’ or ‘enduring’

    “This indicates that ag rạhrạhi is really an expected and accepted pattern of behaviour; and in its Rotuman setting a person doesn’t get drunk to be ag rạhrạhi. In community life, (he worst form of behaviour to display or possess is ‘being inconsiderate’.

    hoi ke. The adverb ke, ‘instead’, again presents the idea of a strong contrast: ‘Never, never get drunk with wine, but always . . .’ Hoi means to be filled with, or to be full of. It is used mainly for filling something with liquid, although it can also mean to be ‘satisfied’ with solid food.

    “From the contrast between the two parts of the verse, it is understood that the person who is filled with the Holy Spirit will not possess or manifest violent character. Therefore the argument and controversy, and sometimes violent action, that have appeared with some people who claim to be ‘filled with the Spirit’, are seen to be a denial of that experience.

    ‘At Ha’a is quite clear in its meaning, ‘the Holy Spirit’. Unlike wine, the Holy Spirit cannot be seen; but still the idea of being filled with the Holy Spirit is clear. In Rotuman ancestral worship a person talked about being ‘possessed’ by the spirit of, say, his father. This was a totally ‘outside of me’ power or infilling.”

    Source: Jotama Vamarasi in The Bible Translator 1989, p. 241ff. )

whole land

The Greek that is usually translated as “the whole land” in English is translated in Uma as “all over the village” (source: Uma Back Translation), in Yakan as “that whole place/country” (source: Yakan Back Translation), in Western Bukidnon Manobo as “the whole world” (source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation), and in Tenango Otomi as “all the earth” (source: Tenango Otomi Back Translation).

Catholic translations that rely on the Latin Vulgate‘s ambiguous totam terram (which, just as the Greek, could refer to the terrestrial globe or a particular place of land) tend to also stay ambiguous. The Spanish Reina Valera has toda la tierra and the English Douay Rheims likewise reads the whole earth. (Source: Knox 1949, p. 20)

God's anger, wrath of God

The Hebrew and Greek What is translated into English as “the wrath of God” (Good News Translation: “God’s anger”) has to be referred to in Bengali as judgment, punishment or whatever fits the context. In Bengali culture, anger is by definition bad and can never be predicated of God. (Source: David Clark)

In Kikuyu the whole phrase that is translated in English as “storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath” or similar is translated as “you are increasing for yourself God’s wrath.” (Source: Jan Sterk)

In Quetzaltepec Mixe it is translated with a term “that not only expresses anger, but also punishment” (source: Robert Bascom), in Western Bukidnon Manobo as “the coming punishment of God on mankind” (source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation), in Kankanaey as “God’s fearful/terrible future punishing of people” (source: Kankanaey Back Translation), in Tagbanwa as “the coming anger/hatred of God” (´source: Tagbanwa Back Translation), and in Tenango Otomi as “the punishment which will come” (saource: Tenango Otomi Back Translation).

See also anger.

fellowship

The Greek that is translated in English as “fellowship” or “communion” is translated in Huba as daɓǝkǝr: “joining heads.” (Source: David Frank in this blog post )

Other translations include:

  • Lalana Chinantec: “they were very happy since they were with their brothers”
  • Chichimeca-Jonaz “always well they talk together”
  • Chuj: “were at peace with each other”
  • San Mateo del Mar Huave: “they accompanied the other believers”
  • Ayutla Mixtec: “they were united together”
  • Eastern Highland Otomi: “their hearts were happy because they all thought alike” (source for this and above: Viola Waterhouse in Notes on Translation August 1966, p. 86ff.)
  • Uma: “harmony” (source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “become one” (source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “have an intimate relationship” (source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “companionship” (source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tenango Otomi: “be friends” (source: Tenango Otomi Back Translation)
  • Yatzachi Zapotec: “head-hearts are one”
  • Eastern Highland Otomi: “be of the same mind” (source for this and two above: John Beekman in Notes on Translation 1964, p. 1ff.)

complete verse (John 1:1)

Following are a number of back-translations of John 1:1:

  • Huehuetla Tepehua: “The Word was living when there was still nothing at all. And that Word lived in the same place God did. And that Word was God himself.”
  • Yatzachi Zapotec: “When the world began, the person who is the Word was already present. He was with God and the person who is the Word was God.”
  • Chol: “In the beginning of the world there already was the Word. This Word already was with God. This Word was (and still is) God.” (Source for this and above: M. Larson / B. Moore in Notes on Translation February 1970, p. 1-125.)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “Long ago before anything was created, the one who is titled the Word of God already was. This Word of God, he already was with God and he is God.” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “Before the world and heavens/sky was laid-down/spread-out (i.e. existed), there was already Jesus who is called Word/Speech of God. This one referred to as Word, he was already there in the presence of God. Not just in the presence of God but on the contrary, this Word who is Jesus, he indeed is the one who is this God.” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)
  • Tenango Otomi: “The Son of God makes it known how God is. When the world was made, already he was living. He was in fellowship with God. He also is God.” (Source: Tenango Otomi Back Translation)
  • Anindilyakwa: “Right at the beginning, long, long ago, Jesus Christ was there, the one who revealed God who was hidden from us. Before God made the heavens and the earth, right at that time the same one was already there with God. And those two, the same one and God, they were the same/shared the same characteristics.” (Source: Julie Waddy in The Bible Translator 2004, p. 452ff.)

complete verse (Romans 5:21)

Following are a number of back-translations of Romans 5:21:

  • Uma: “Formerly, sin was what was powerful in the lives of all people, with the result that all people must be punished with death and separated from God. But as of now, the grace [white insides] of God is what is powerful in our lives. From his grace God says we are straight in his sight and he gives us good life forever because of the mediation of Yesus Kristus our Lord.” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “So-then, formerly sin was strong, therefore all human-beings sinned and died. But now because of the love and pity of God, everyone who trusts Isa Almasi is forgiven and considered straight by God. And he gives them life without end in heaven because of what Isa Almasi, our (incl.) Leader has done.” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “Before, as for us (incl.) human beings, it was not possible that we not sin. And because of this, we die; however, now by means of God considering us righteous, God shows us his kindness so that we might be given life forever by means of Jesus Christ, who is our Lord.” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “It is true that sin was ruling mankind so that they would die and be separated from God forever. But now, it is God’s grace which wins-the-victory and rules, because due-to what Jesu Cristo our Lord did, it-is-possible for God to count people as righteous so that they will have life that has no end.” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tenango Otomi: “Therefore the sin grabbed our hearts and this brought to us death. But now in that the grace of God grabbed our hearts, this has brought to us the new life because now our sins have been cleared by means of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Source: Tenango Otomi Back Translation)

complete verse (2 Corinthians 10:14)

Following are a number of back-translations of 2 Corinthians 10:14:

  • Uma: “So, if we (excl.) admonish you, relatives, we (excl.) are not going beyond the boundary. If we (excl.) hadn’t ever come to your village bringing the Good News, we (excl.) wouldn’t have a right [lit., seat] to admonish you. But we (excl.) do have a right to admonish you, for we (excl.) did arrive at your village bringing the Good News.” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “So then, because you are included in the work God has given us (excl.) (to do), we (excl.) did not go beyond what God had given us (excl.) when we (excl.) went to teach you the good news about Almasi.” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “It’s not possible that we use our authority in excess when we give advice. We would not have had any authority over you if we had not long ago preached to you. However, we were the first ones who arrived there preaching the Good News about Christ.” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “Therefore we (excl.) don’t exceed our proper jurisdiction if we (excl.) boast-about our (excl.) work in your location, for we (excl.) definitely are the ones who went-first (lit. preceded) in preaching the good news about Cristo to you.” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “Therefore when we (excl.) are teaching you, we (excl.) are not as-might-be-said going beyond the work that God entrusted to us (excl.), as if you were not included in this work that was entrusted to us. For it’s true, through our (excl.) facing/attending-to that which he entrusted to us (excl.), we (excl.) were the very-first to go there bringing the Good News concerning Cristo.” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)
  • Tenango Otomi: “So then, God gave me the work to go there where you live. I did not decide by myself to go there. And I was the first one to go telling you the word about Christ, before other preachers did.” (Source: Tenango Otomi Back Translation)

complete verse (Luke 9:43)

Following are a number of back-translations of Luke 9:43:

  • Nyongar: “All the people were amazed when they saw the great power of God. As the people were wondering about everything Jesus was doing, Jesus said to his disciples,” (Source: Warda-Kwabba Luke-Ang)
  • Uma: “All the people were surprised to see that great power of God. While the people were pondering surprised-at all the miracles done by Yesus, he said to his disciples:” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “All the people there wondered very much when they saw the power of God. While the people were still wondering about the works of Isa, Isa said to his disciples,” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “And all the people there were very much surprised because of what Jesus had done by means of the great power of God. And while they were still amazed at all of the things that Jesus was doing, he said to his disciples,” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “And all the people were amazed at the power of God. The many-people were still amazed at all Jesus was doing while-meanwhile he said to his disciples,” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “All the people were really amazed at the strength of the supernatural-power of God. Well since the people were amazed by all that which Jesus was doing, he said to his disciples,” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)

complete verse (Romans 7:9)

Following are a number of back-translations of Romans 7:9:

  • Uma: “Formerly before I know the Lord’s Law, I thought my life was good. But in fact, when I heard the Lord’s Law, the sin that was in my heart appeared/showed-up,” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “At the time when I did not yet know the law, I thought-mistakenly that I was good and I had no sin. But after I knew the law I understood that I am sinful, surprise, and my sin increased,” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “At first I did not know what the Law was, and at that time it seemed as if I had no sin. But when the Law was taught to me, I understood then that my actions were evil, and because of this I understood that apparently I was going to wind up with death without end.” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “Previously, I was satisfied with my way-of-life (i.e. behavior), because admittedly I didn’t properly understand what the law was talking-about. But when I understood what it meant to say, it was as if my hereditary sinfulness woke-up” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tenango Otomi: “Concerning myself, when I didn’t know what was said in God’s law I then thought I was doing good. But when I came to know what is said in the law I understood that I was not doing what was said in God’s law. I then knew that it was necessary that I be punished for my sin.” (Source: Tenango Otomi Back Translation)

complete verse (2 Corinthians 11:28)

Following are a number of back-translations of 2 Corinthians 11:28:

  • Uma: “Besides that, heavy also is my burden every day thinking about the Kristen people in every village.” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “All those things that I experienced/happened to me are difficult. But there are still other troubles of mine. I am also troubled about the gatherings of trusters in Isa Almasi.” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “And that’s not all, because every day I have a hard time leading all the groups of believers everywhere.” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “And not only these, for continually I am burdened because of my concern-for-the-interests-of all the congregations.” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “Well, in addition to all this, I really worry night and day about the situation of believers everywhere.” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)
  • Tenango Otomi: “And there now is another matter that makes my thoughts suffer. Each day I feel pain in my heart because I do not know how the believers who live in different parts are getting along.” (Source: Tenango Otomi Back Translation)

complete verse (Luke 10:13)

Following are a number of back-translations of Luke 10:13:

  • Nyongar: “‘That Day will be terrifying for you, Chorazin! That Day will be terrifying for you also, Bethsaida! Great things were done in you. If these things had been done in Tyre and in Sidon, long ago the people of those towns would have sat down, put on sorry clothes and sprinkled dust on their heads, to show they had turned away from their sin.” (Source: Warda-Kwabba Luke-Ang)
  • Uma: “‘Disaster to you Yahudi people who live in the towns of Korazim and Betsaida! I have done indeed many miracles in your towns, but you still do not repent from your sins. If for example those miracles had been done in the towns of Tirus and Sidon, they would long ago have repented from their sins, even though they were not Yahudi people. They would have taken gunny-sacks to use-as-clothes, and they would sit sprinkling their bodies with ashes/dust, a sign of their regret.” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “‘You are to be pitied, people of Korasin. You are to be pitied, people of Betsaida. For if I had done the powerful works/miracles in Tiros and Sidon that I have done there at your place, the people there would long have regretted and left their sin and as is their custom they would dress in sacks and sprinkle ashes on themselves to show their regret.” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “And Jesus said again, ‘Pity you in the future, you inhabitants of Chorazin! Pity you also in the future, you inhabitants of Bethsaida; as for the miracles which I caused you to see in your Jewish village, if I had done them in the villages of Tyre and Sidon where the people are not Jewish, they would have clothed themselves with sacks and they would have put ashes on their heads as a sign that they were abandoning their wicked customs.” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “Then Jesus continued to say, ‘Pitiful are you from-Korazin and likewise also you from-Betsaida! Because many are the amazing things I have done in your towns, but you didn’t repent of your sins. If it had been in Tiro and in Sidon where I had done these amazing things, they would have put-on sacks immediately and sat in the ashes to show that they repented.” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “Jesus continued speaking, saying, ‘Alas, really very hard is in store for you who are taga Corazin and taga Betsaida. Because supposing that there in Tiro and Sidon, whose people are not Judio, were done all these amazing things which were done here with you, it’s true that for a long time now the people from there would have dressed in rough (clothes) and sat in the ash-place, so as to cause it to be recognized that they were truly repenting/sorry.” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)