you shall not commit adultery

The Hebrew and Greek that is translated in English as “you shall not commit adultery” is translated in Toraja-Sa’dan with an established figure of speech: Da’ mupasandak salu lako rampanan kapa’ or “you shall not fathom the river of marriage” (i.e “approach the marriage relationship of another.”) (Source: H. van der Veen in The Bible Translator 1950, p. 21 ff.).

It is translated as “practice illicit relationship with women” in Tzeltal, as “go in with other people’s wives” in Isthmus Zapotec, as “live with some one who isn’t your wife” in Huehuetla Tepehua, and as “sleep with a strange partner” in Central Tarahumara. (Source: Waterhouse / Parrott in Notes on Translation October 1967, p. 1ff.)

See also adultery

eternal life

The Greek that is translated in English as “eternal life” is translated in various ways:

Lloyd Peckham explains the Mairasi translation: “In secret stories, not knowable to women nor children, there was a magical fruit of life. If referred to vaguely, without specifying the specific ‘fruit,’ it can be an expression for eternity.”

See also eternity / forever and salvation.

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 them to say they 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.

filled with the Holy Spirit, full with the Holy Spirit

The Greek that is rendered in English as “filled with the Holy Spirit” or “full with the Holy Spirit” is translated in various ways:

  • Tboli: “the Holy Spirit is with / lives with one”
  • Shipibo-Conibo: “the Holy Spirit permeates one” (using a term said of medicines)
  • Cuyonon: “one is under the control of the Holy Spirit” (esp. Luke 4:1, Acts 7:55, Acts 11:24)
  • Ngäbere: “the full strength of the Holy Spirit stays in one”
  • Tae’ (translation of 1933): “one carries the Holy Spirit in his inner being” (source for this and all above: Reiling / Swellengrebel)
  • Yamba and Bulu: “the Holy Spirit filled one’s heart” (source: W. Reyburn in The Bible Translator 1959, p. 1ff.)
  • Rincón Zapotec: “the Holy Spirit comes to be completely with one”
  • Eastern Highland Otomi: “one walks with the Holy Spirit of God”
  • Chuj: “God’s Spirit enters into one”
  • Morelos Nahuatl: “the Holy Spirit enters one’s heart to rule”
  • Teutila Cuicatec: “God’s Spirit possesses one” / “in all the authority of the Holy Spirit”
  • Isthmus Mixe: “have the Holy Spirit (in one’s head and heart) very much” or “Holy Spirit enter one completely”
  • Lalana Chinantec: “one’s heart really obeyed what the Holy Spirit wanted”
  • Chichimeca-Jonaz: “one’s heart full of God’s Holy Spirit” (source for this and seven above: Viola Waterhouse in Notes on Translation August 1966, p. 86ff.)
  • Yawa: “God’s Spirit gives one power” (source: Larry Jones)

The following story is relayed by Martha Duff Tripp as she led the translation of the New Testament into Yanesha’ (p. 310):

I continue to work with Casper Mountain [an Yanesha’ translator] on translation. As we start the book of Luke, we run into another problem. In Chapter 1, verse 15, the text reads (speaking of John the Baptist), “and he shall be filled with the Holy Spirit.” The Amueshas [Yanesha’s] have never associated their word for “fill” with anything except pots and baskets. How can a person be “filled”? Even their word for a full stomach is not the word for “fill.” We talk together about what “filled with the Holy Spirit” means (obsessed with or possessed by). The thought comes to me of what the Amueshas [Yanesha’s] say about the shaman. They say that he can “wear” the spirit of the tiger, that they can tell when he is wearing the tiger spirit because he then will act like a tiger. Their word for “wear” is the same word as to “wear or put on a garment.” Can this possibly be the way to say “filled with God’s Spirit”? As I cautiously question Casper about this, his face lights up immediately. “Yes, that is the way we would say it, he is ’wearing’ God’s Holy Spirit.”

Note that Cheyenne also uses the term for “wear” in these instances. (Source: Wayne Leman)

See also Holy Spirit.

high priest

The Greek that is translated as “high priest” in English is translated as “the ruler of the priests of our nation” in Yatzachi Zapotec, as “very great priest” in Chol (source: M. Larson / B. Moore in Notes on Translation February 1970, p. 1-125.), as “first over the priests” in Ayutla Mixtec, and “chief of the priests” in Desano (source for this and one above: Viola Waterhouse in Notes on Translation August 1966, p. 86ff.).

See also complete verse (Acts 23:4) et al.

tormented by unclean spirits

The Greek that is translated as “tormented by unclean spirits” or similar in English is translated as “were bothered by evil spirits inside them” in Ayutla Mixtec, “had henchmen of the devil spirits” in Lalana Chinantec, “molested by the not-good-one (devil)” in Morelos Nahuatl, “bothered by the sent ones of the devil” in Chuj, or “the devils hurt they-do-to-them” in Chichimeca-Jonaz.

become your father, begotten you

The Hebrew and Greek that is translated as “(today I have) begotten you (or: have become your father)” or similar in English is translated as “I have presented you before all people so that they might know that you are my own Son” in Teutila Cuicatec, as “you I have appointed now that you rule” in Tenango Otomi, and as “today I have given you work” in Lalana Chinantec. (Source: Viola Waterhouse in Notes on Translation August 1966, p. 86ff.)

See also complete verse (Acts 13:33) and only begotten son / (one and) only son.

ungodliness

The Greek that is translated as “all ungodliness” in English is translated as “those who don’t think anything of God” in Huehuetla Tepehua, as “all those who don’t pay attention to him” in Isthmus Zapotec, as “all people who don’t believe in him” in Sayula Popoluca, as “all who do not pay attention to what God says” in Sierra de Juárez Zapotec, and as “those who do not respect him” in Hopi. (Source: Waterhouse / Parrott in Notes on Translation October 1967, p. 1ff.)

brother and fathers

The Greek that is translated as “brothers and fathers” in English is translated in Purari as “younger and older brothers.” (Source: David Clark)

In Teutila Cuicatec it is “all of you, officials of our nation and my brothers,” in Isthmus Mixe “old men and brothers (according to order of respect), in Lalana Chinantec “companions, men,” in Eastern Highland Otomi “you men, fathers,” in Chichimeca-Jonaz “you who are our relatives, and you whom I made my fathers,” in Highland Popoluca “my older uncles,” and in Rincón Zapotec “elders and brothers.” (Source: Viola Waterhouse in Notes on Translation August 1966, p. 86ff.)

the ends of the earth

The Greek that is translated as “the ends of the earth (or: world)” is translated in Bilua as “the bottom of the sky” (= horizon) (source: Carl Gross), in Western Highland Purepecha as “beyond the horizon” (source: Nida 1947, p. 158), and in Chicahuaxtla Triqui as “to the far horizons” (source: Waterhouse / Parrott in Notes on Translation October 1967, p. 1ff.).

See also to the ends of the earth.

together, with one accord

The Greek that is translated as “together” or “with one accord” in English is translated in Yamba and Bulu as “(with) one heart.” (Source: W. Reyburn in The Bible Translator 1959, p. 1ff.)

In Enlhet it is translated as “their innermosts did not go past each other.” “Innermost” or valhoc is a term that is frequently used in Enlhet to describe a large variety of emotions (for other examples see here). (Source: Jacob Loewen in The Bible Translator 1969, p. 24ff.)

Following are some other translations: