formal 2nd person pronoun (Spanish)

Like many languages (but unlike Greek or Hebrew or English), Spanish uses a formal vs. informal second-person pronoun (a familiar vs. a respectful “you”). Spanish Bibles all use only the informal second-person pronoun (), with the exception of Dios Habla Hoy (third edition: 1996) which also uses the formal pronoun (usted). In the referenced verses, the formal form is used.

Sources and for more information: P. Ellingworth in The Bible Translator 2002, p. 143ff. and R. Ross in The Bible Translator 1993, p. 217ff.

See also the use of the formal vs. the informal pronoun in the Gospels in Tuvan.

Translation commentary on 1 Samuel 9:18

The gate: see the comment on 4.18. Parola Del Signore: La Bibbia in Lingua Corrente says “at the gate of the city.” But the translation of the word for a city gate may be very difficult in languages where city walls are unknown. Some have to say “the place [or, hole] in the wall where people go in and out of the city.”

Tell me: after the verb tell, the Hebrew contains a word of entreaty that is difficult to translate. Neither Revised Standard Version nor Good News Translation translates it. This word expresses a sense of urgency. New Jewish Publication Society’s Tanakh captures the sense by saying “Tell me, please.” In some cases the particle of entreaty may come more naturally at the beginning of the statement. See the comments on 2.36.

The seer: see the comments on verse 9.

If indirect discourse is preferred, this verse may be translated:

• Then Saul went to Samuel by the city gate and asked him where he might find the house of the seer.

Quoted with permission from Omanson, Roger L. and Ellington, John E. A Handbook on the First and Second Books of Samuel, Volume 1. (UBS Helps for Translators). New York: UBS, 2001. For this and other handbooks for translators see here .

imperatives (kudasai / Japanese honorifics)

Like a number of other East Asian languages, Japanese uses a complex system of honorifics, i.e. a system where a number of different levels of politeness are expressed in language via words, word forms or grammatical constructs. These can range from addressing someone or referring to someone with contempt (very informal) to expressing the highest level of reference (as used in addressing or referring to God) or any number of levels in-between.

One way Japanese show different degree of politeness is through the choice of an imperative construction as shown here in the widely-used Japanese Shinkaiyaku (新改訳) Bible of 2017.

In these verses, the honorific form kudasai (ください) reflects that the action is called for as a favor for the sake of the beneficiary. This polite kudasai imperative form is often translated as “please” in English. While English employs pure imperatives in most imperative constructions (“Do this!”), Japanese chooses the polite kudasai (“Do this, please.”).

(Source: S. E. Doi, see also S. E. Doi in Journal of Translation, 18/2022, p. 37ff. )