vine

The Greek that is translated in English typically as “vine” is translated in Lak as къюмайтӀутӀул мурхьра: “the (grape-)cluster tree.”

Vitaly Voinov tells this story:

“Laks (who live in the mountainous regions of Dagestan) historically have had no experience with planting and tending vineyards. They buy grapes at the market or the store, but that’s about all they know of grape growing. Thus, in field testing, none of the readers could picture the primary image of this chapter. The translator’s initial attempt of rendering ‘vine’ as ‘grape stalk’ met with complete non-understanding. After much discussion of the problem and potential solutions, we settled on what one of the field testing respondents suggested to remedy the problem: ‘vine’ was rendered as ‘the (grape-)cluster tree’ (къюмайтӀутӀул мурхьра). Technically grapes of course don’t grow on trees, but something had to be put in the text, and it had to be said in a way that the average reader/hearer could understand it. The Lak team could have borrowed the Russian word for “vine” (лоза), but since this is a very low-frequency word in the Russian language, it’s likely that many Laks wouldn’t know the Russian word either. So the team settled for a reduction of accuracy in order to achieve greater clarity. After all, the primary point of importance in this passage is not a horticultural analysis, but a metaphorical comparison to the spiritual world, to the relationship between the Father, His Son, and the followers of Jesus. This rendering allows readers to get to the core of this meaning without getting tangled up in unknown terms.”