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.

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

cardinal directions

The cardinal directions “east” and “west” are easy to translate into Mano (Mann) here since the language uses “where the sun comes up” and “where the sun goes down.” For “north” the translator had “facing toward the sun rising to the left,” and for “south” she had “facing toward the sun rising to the right.” So the listener had to think hard before knowing what direction was in view when translating “to the north and south, to the east and west.” So the verse was very long. It was shortened by saying simply “all directions.” Likewise, Yakan has “from the four corners of the earth” (source: Yakan back-translation) or Western Bukidnon Manobo “from the four directions here on the earth” (source: Western Bukidnon Manobo back-translation).

Kankanaey is “from the coming-out and the going-away of the sun and the north and the south” (source: Kankanaey back-translation), Northern Emberá “from where the sun comes up, from where it falls, from the looking [left] hand, from the real [right] hand” (source: Charles Mortensen), Amele “from the direction of the sun going up, from the direction of the sun going down, from the north and from the south” (source: John Roberts), Ejamat “look up to see the side where the sun comes from, and the side where it sets, and look on your right side, and on your left” (source: David Frank in this blog post).

In Lamba, only umutulesuŵa, “where the sun rises” and imbonsi, “where the sun sets” were available as cardinal directions that were not tied to the local area of language speakers (“north” is kumausi — “to the Aushi country” — and “south” kumalenje — “to the Lenje country”). So “north” and “south” were introduced as loanwords, nofu and saufu respectively. The whole phrase is kunofu nakusaufu nakumutulesuŵa nakumbonsi. (Source C. M. Doke in The Bible Translator 1958, p. 57ff.)

In Morelos Nahuatl, “north” is translated as “from above” and “south” as “from below.” (Source: Viola Waterhouse in Notes on Translation August 1966, p. 86ff.)

See also cardinal directions / left and right.

firstborn

The Greek that is translated as “firstborn” in English is translated “he/she that opens the gown” in Batak Toba (because formerly a woman stopped wearing a gown and started using a bodice after the birth of her first child) and “he/she that damages the stalk (i.e. the body)” in Uab Meto. (Source: Reiling / Swellengrebel)

In Bawm Chin, the term can imply the existence of younger siblings, so a translation is needed that brings out the fact that Jesus is superior to all else, not just the first of a series. (Source: David Clark)

In Mezquital Otomi it is “the oldest son of all” and in Isthmus Zapotec “oldest child.” (Source: Waterhouse / Parrott in Notes on Translation October 1967, p. 1ff.)

See also only begotten son / (one and) only son.

resurrection

The Greek that is translated as “resurrection” in English is translated in Chicahuaxtla Triqui and Pohnpeian as “live-up” (i.e. return to life) (source: Reiling / Swellengrebel) and in Iloko as panagungar: a term that stems “from the word ‘agungar,’ an agricultural term used to describe the coming back to life of a plant which was wilting but which has been watered by the farmer, or of a bulb which was apparently dead but grows again.” (Source: G. Henry Waterman in The Bible Translator 1960, p. 24ff. )

In Estado de México Otomi, it is translated as “people will be raised from the dead,” in Teutila Cuicatec as “the dead having to come to life again,” in San Mateo del Mar Huave as “arose from the grave” (source: Viola Waterhouse in Notes on Translation August 1966, p. 86ff.), and in Kriol as gidap laibala brom dedbala or “get up alive from the dead” (source: Sam Freney in this article .)

serve tables, wait at tables

The Greek that is often translated as “serve tables” or “wait at tables is translated in the following ways:

island, Samothrace

The Greek that is transliterated as “Samothrace” in English is translated more specifically as “the island of Samothrace” in some languages. Isthmus Mixe has “the land of Samothrace [which is] in the midst of the sea” and Eastern Highland Otomi uses “little land of Samothrace which sits in the water.” (Source: Viola Waterhouse in Notes on Translation August 1966, p. 86ff.)

See also Cyprus.

senseless minds were darkened

The Greek that is translated as “senseless minds were darkened” or similar in English is translated as “stupid head-hearts became more stupid” in Yatzachi Zapotec, as “little by little their innermost came to sit dark” in Sierra de Juárez Zapotec, and as “now they walk in darkness” in Sayula Popoluca. (Source: Waterhouse / Parrott in Notes on Translation October 1967, p. 1ff.)

contrary to nature

The Greek that is translated as “contrary to nature” or similar in English is translated as “where you didn’t spring up” in Isthmus Zapotec, as “contrary to what you belong to” in Highland Totonac, and as “which is contrary to your normal way in that you are not the good branches of the good tree” in North Alaskan Inupiatun. (Source: Waterhouse / Parrott in Notes on Translation October 1967, p. 1ff.)

neighbor

The Greek that is translated as “neighbor” in English is rendered into Babatana as “different man,” i.e. someone who is not one of your relatives. (Source: David Clark)

In North Alaskan Inupiatun, it is rendered as “a person outside of your building,” in Tzeltal as “your back and side” (implying position of the dwellings), in Indonesian and in Tae’ as “your fellow-man,” in Toraja-Sa’dan it is “your fellow earth-dweller,” in Shona (translation of 1966) as “another person like you,” in Kekchí “younger-brother-older-brother” (a compound which means all one’s neighbors in a community) (sources: Bratcher / Nida and Reiling / Swellengrebel), in Mairasi “your people” (source: Enggavoter 2004), in Mezquital Otomi as “fellow being,” in Tzeltal as “companion,” in Isthmus Zapotec as “another,” and in Teutila Cuicatec as “all people” (source: Waterhouse / Parrott in Notes on Translation October 1967, p. 1ff.).

In Matt 19:19, Matt 22:39, Mark 12:31, Mark 12:33, Luke 10:27, Luke 10:29 it is translated into Ixcatlán Mazatec with a term that refers to a person who is socially/physically near. Ixcatlán Mazatec also has a another term for “neighbor” that means “fellow humans-outsiders” which was not chosen for these passages. (Source: Robert Bascom)

In Nyongar it is translated as moorta-boordak or “people nearby” (source: Warda-Kwabba Luke-Ang).

envy

The Greek that is translated as “envy” in most English translations is, according to Nida (1952, p. 134), translated into Tzeltal and Tabasco Chontal in the following manner:

“Envy is bred of covetousness and self-centeredness. The Tzeltals, who recognize a covetous man as having a ‘small heart,’ say that an envious person has ‘a greedy heart.’ ‘Small hearts’ and ‘greedy hearts’ go together, and the soul shrinks in direct proportion to its greediness. The envious person is never satisfied, for he can never keep step with his own insatiable ego.

“The Chontal Indians, living in the low, swampy delta land of Tabasco in southern Mexico, regard envy in a more subtle way. They say of the man who is envious of his neighbor, ‘He did not want to see his neighbor.’ This describes the end result of envy. People cannot bear to see others enjoying the privileges which they insist should be their own. The envious man has acquired such a self-directed stare that he cannot take his eyes off self to see another’s enjoyment.”

In Central Mazahua is is translated as “jealous of each other, their fellow people” and in Sayula Popoluca as “hate those who have something.” (Source: Waterhouse / Parrott in Notes on Translation October 1967, p. 1ff.)