The Greek that is translated as “ship” in English is translated in Kouya as ‘glʋ ‘kadʋ — “big canoe.”

Philip Saunders (p. 231) explains:

Acts chapter 27 was a challenge! It describes Paul’s sea voyage to Italy, and finally Rome. There is a storm at sea and a shipwreck on Malta, and the chapter includes much detailed nautical vocabulary. How do you translate this for a landlocked people group, most of whom have never seen the ocean? All they know are small rivers and dugout canoes.

We knew that we could later insert some illustrations during the final paging process which would help the Kouya readers to picture what was happening, but meanwhile we struggled to find or invent meaningful terms. The ‘ship’ was a ‘big canoe’ and the ‘passengers’ were ‘the people in the big canoe’; the ‘crew’ were the ‘workers in the big canoe’; the ‘pilot’ was the ‘driver of the big canoe’; the ‘big canoe stopping place’ was the ‘harbour’, and the ‘big canoe stopping metal’ was the ‘anchor’!”

See also ship


The Hebrew that is translated in English as “as when an east wind shatters the ships of Tarshish” (New Revised Standard Version) or “like ships tossing in a furious storm” (Good News Translation) is translated in Afar as Alak gilite illih innah, gilitak wadir yuduuren.: “As sheep scatter back and forth from a wild animal.” (No ships in this part of the Afar desert.)

See also ship.