gospel

In choosing a word for the Greek that is typically translated as “gospel” in English, a number of languages construct a phrase meaning “good news,” “joyful report” or “happiness-bringing words.” In some instances such a phrase may be slightly expanded in order to convey the proper meaning, e.g. “new good word” (Tzotzil), or it may involve some special local usage, e.g. “good story” (Navajo), “joyful telling” (Tausug), “joyful message” (Toraja-Sa’dan) (source for this and all above: Bratcher / Nida), “message of God” (Shilluk) (source: Nida 1964, p. 237), cohuen ñoñets or “good news” in Yanesha’ (source: Martha Duff in Holzhausen 1991, p. 11), or “voice of good spirit” in San Blas Kuna (source: Claudio Iglesias [Mr. and Mrs.] in The Bible Translator 1951, p. 85ff.).

Vitaly Voinov tells this story about the translation into Rutul (click or tap here to see the rest of this insight):

“In Rutul, it was only during the most recent consultant checking session that I realized that the Rutul word for Gospel – Incir (from Arabic إنجيل — Injil) — sounds and looks exactly like the word that means ‘fig’ in Rutul. This is a case of homonymy, in which two completely non-related words from differing historical sources have come to sound exactly alike. Most Rutul speakers know that incir means ‘fig’ because they grow this fruit in their yard or buy it at the market every week. However, because the religious sphere of discourse was heavily disparaged during the Soviet era, most people simply never encountered Incir with the meaning of ‘Gospel.’ This meaning of the word, which Rutuls of the pre-Soviet era knew from the Koran, simply fell into disuse and never had much reason for returning into contemporary Rutul since there is no Christian church established among the people. So if the translator continues to use the term Incir as the rendering for ‘Gospel,’ he runs the risk that most readers will, at best, read the word with a smile because they know that it also means ‘fig,’ and, at worst, will completely misunderstand the word. The seemingly ‘easy’ solution in this case is for the translator to use a Rutul neologism meaning ‘Joyful Message’ or ‘Good News,’ [see above] instead of Incir; but in fact it is not all that easy to make this change if the translator himself insists on using the historical word because at least some Rutuls still understand it as meaning ‘Gospel.’ This is a situation in which the translation team has to gradually grow into the understanding that a fully intelligible translation of Scripture is preferable to one that maintains old words at the cost of alienating much of the readership.”

brother (fellow Christian)

The Greek that is translated in English as “brother” (in the sense of a fellow Christian) is translated with a specifically coined word in Kachin: “There are two terms for brother in Kachin. One is used to refer to a Christian brother. This term combines ‘older and younger brother.’ The other term is used specifically for addressing siblings. When one uses this term, one must specify if the older or younger person is involved. A parallel system exists for ‘sister’ as well. In [these verses], the term for ‘a Christian brother’ is used.” (Source: Gam Seng Shae)

In Martu Wangka it is translated as “relative” (this is also the term that is used for “follower”.) (Source: Carl Gross)

See also brothers.

complete verse (1 Corinthians 15:1)

Following are a number of back-translations of 1 Corinthians 15:1:

  • Uma: “Continuing on, relatives, I want to remind you of the contents of the Good News that I delivered to you. You have received that Good News and your faith is strong to the present time.” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “Na, my brothers, I want to remind you again of the good news about Isa Almasi that I formerly proclaimed to you. You believed-obeyed this and your trust in Isa Almasi is steadfast because of this.” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “And now, my brothers in the faith, I will teach you again about the Good News which I taught to you long ago, and you believed, and you took it to heart.” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “Now my brothers, I will remind you what I preached to you previously which is the good news. That’s what you believed previously and that also is what your faith is-based-on now.” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “Well now I am testifying to you again, my siblings in believing, this Good News that I taught you in the past, that you acknowledged-as-true and firmly-fixed- your belief -to.” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)
  • Tenango Otomi: “Now my brothers, I want that you do not forget the good news I have told you. This word is what you looked well upon and it makes your faith firm.” (Source: Tenango Otomi Back Translation)