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

kick against the goads

The Greek proverb which is translated directly by some English versions as “kick against the goads (=a spiked stick used for driving cattle)” and refers to “pointless fighting” became “throw chaff into the wind” in the Khmer Standard Version translation of 2005 (the translators also considered “spit vertically upwards”). (Source David Clark)

In Lalana Chinantec it is translated as “as a bull which kicks a sharp stick which his owner holds so do you,” in Teutila Cuicatec as “you are doing the same as an ox that is hurting itself, kicking the sharp stick that people drive it with,” and in Xicotepec De Juárez Totonac as “like a horse when it kicks the stick with which it is driven.” (Source for this and two above: Viola Waterhouse in Notes on Translation August 1966, p. 86ff.)

saint

The Greek that is translated as “saint” in English is rendered into Highland Puebla Nahuatl as “those with clean hearts,” into Northwestern Dinka as “those with white hearts,” and into Western Kanjobal as “people of prayer.” (Source: Nida 1952, p. 146)

Other translations include:

anoint (chrió)

The Greek chrió that is translated as “anoint” in English is translated in Chol as “choose.”

Wilbur Aulie (in The Bible Translator 1957, p. 109ff.) explains: “Another illustration of translating a figure in a non-figurative manner is the treatment of chrió ‘anoint’. In Luke 4:18, Acts 4:27 and 10:38, and in 2 Corinthians 1:21 it is metaphorical of consecration to office by God. We translated the metaphor ‘choose’.”

Other translations include “place as Savior” in Highland Popoluca, “appoint to rule” in Coatlán Mixe, “give work to do” in Tepeuxila Cuicatec, or “give office to be our Savior” in Chuj (source of this and four above: Viola Waterhouse in Notes on Translation August 1966, p. 86ff.).

Pentecost

The Greek that is translated as “Pentecost” in English is translated in Huichol as “festival of the 7th week” It was rendered thus because the name of Pentecost would be equated with a sect only, and a harvest festival in late May would strain credibility. (Source: Viola Waterhouse in Notes on Translation August 1966, p. 86ff.)

eloquent

The Greek that is often translated as “eloquent” in English is translated as “very fluent speaker” in San Mateo del Mar Huave, as “preached well” in Isthmus Mixe and Lalana Chinantec, as “had a beautiful way to talk” in Morelos Nahuatl, and as “really able to speak” Chichimeca-Jonaz. (Source: Viola Waterhouse in Notes on Translation August 1966, p. 86ff.)

expiation, propitiation, sacrifice of atonement

The Greek that is translated as “sacrifice of atonement,” “expiation,” or “propitiation” in English is translated as “substitute in paying for our sins” in Tzeltal, as “God arranged for him to (die and) take away sin” in Hopi, and “”God gave him (to die in order) to pardon us” in Sayula Popoluca. (Source: Waterhouse / Parrott in Notes on Translation October 1967, p. 1ff.)

See also propitiation / atoning sacrifice.

debauchery, sexual promiscuity

The Greek that is translated in English as “debauchery” or “sexual immorality” or similar is translated as “have affairs with women” in Chicahuaxtla Triqui, as “act any old way” in Central Tarahumara, as “live in the street” in Huehuetla Tepehua, as “commit adultery” in Yatzachi Zapotec, as “lie with people” in Mezquital Otomi and as “go after women” in Isthmus Zapotec. (Source: Waterhouse / Parrott in Notes on Translation October 1967, p. 1ff.)

See also sexual immorality / fornication and adultery.

conversion, convert, turn back

(To view the different translations of this term in a simplified graphical form on a new page, click or tap here.)

The Greek that is often rendered in English as “to be converted” or “to turn around” is (back-) translated in a number of ways:

  • North Alaskan Inupiatun: “to change completely”
  • Purepecha: “to turn around”
  • Highland Totonac: “to have one’s life changed”
  • Huautla Mazatec: “to make pass over bounds within”
  • San Blas Kuna: “turn the heart toward God”
  • Chol: “the heart turns itself back”
  • Highland Puebla Nahuatl: “self-heart change”
  • Pamona: “to turn away from, unlearn something”
  • Tepeuxila Cuicatec: “to turn around from the breast”
  • Luvale: “to return”
  • Balinese: “to put in a new behavior” (compare “repentance“: “to put on a new mind”)
  • Tzeltal: “to cause one’s heart to return to God” (compare “repentance”: “to cause one’s heart to return because of one’s sin”)
  • Pedi: “to retrace one’s step” (compare “repentance”: “to become untwisted”)
  • Uab Meto: “to return” (compare “repentance”: “to turn the heart upside down”)
  • Northwestern Dinka: “to turn oneself” (compare “repentance”: “to turn the heart”) (source for this and all above: Bratcher / Nida)
  • Central Mazahua: “changing the heart” (compare “repentance”: “turning back the heart”) (source: Nida 1952, p. 40)
  • Western Kanjobal: “to molt” (like a butterfly) (source: Nida 1952, p. 136)
  • Latvian: atgriezties (verb) / atgriešanās (noun) (“turn around / return”) which is also the same term being used for “repentance” (source: Katie Roth)
  • Isthmus Mixe: “look away from the teaching of one’s ancestors and follow the teachings of God”
  • Highland Popoluca: “leaving one’s old beliefs to believe in Jesus” (source for thsi and above: Viola Waterhouse in Notes on Translation August 1966, p. 86ff.)

build up

The Greek that is translated as “building up” in many English versions is translated in Chol with a term that specifically indicates to make others better (here and elsewhere, in their faith in Christ). (Source: Robert Bascom)

In Huehuetla Tepehua it is translated as “have more confidence in Christ,” in Chicahuaxtla Triqui as “cause that their hearts grow strong with reference to the way of God,” in Yatzachi Zapotec as “to become stronger in their faith,” and in Central Tarahumara as “so that they can believe better yet.” (Source: Waterhouse / Parrott in Notes on Translation October 1967, p. 1ff.)

author of life

The Greek that is translated as “author of life” in English is translated as “the one who give eternal life” in Rincón Zapotec, as “the one who gave us (incl.) our life” in Chichimeca-Jonaz, as “the Lord that gives life” in Eastern Highland Otomi, as “him who causes us to live” in Morelos Nahuatl, as “that man who has caused everything to be that there is” in San Mateo del Mar Huave, or as “gives life to people” Tepeuxila Cuicatec. (Source: Viola Waterhouse in Notes on Translation August 1966, p. 86ff.)