Satan

The Greek that is typically transliterated in English as “Satan” is transliterated in Kipsigis as “Setani.” This is interesting because it is not only a transliteration that approximates the Greek sound but it is also an existing Kipsigis word with the meaning of “ugly” and “sneaking.” (Source: Earl Anderson in The Bible Translator 1950, p. 85ff. )

In Morelos Nahuatl it is translated as “envious one”. (Source: Viola Waterhouse in Notes on Translation August 1966, p. 86ff.)

inclusive vs. exclusive pronoun (1Thess. 2:18)

Many languages distinguish between inclusive and exclusive first-person plural pronouns (“we”). (Click or tap here to see more details)

The inclusive “we” specifically includes the addressee (“you and I and possibly others”), while the exclusive “we” specifically excludes the addressee (“he/she/they and I, but not you”). This grammatical distinction is called “clusivity.” While Semitic languages such as Hebrew or most Indo-European languages such as Greek or English do not make that distinction, translators of languages with that distinction have to make a choice every time they encounter “we” or a form thereof (in English: “we,” “our,” or “us”).

For this verse, translators typically select the exclusive form (excluding the addressee).

Source: Velma Pickett and Florence Cowan in Notes on Translation January 1962, p. 1ff.

In Fijian, the paucal exclusive forms neitou and keitou (“of me and a few [two or slight more]”) are used instead. This choice is understandable in view of the introduction found in both letters to the Thessalonians, where the writer Paul indicates clearly that the letters were co-authored by two other colleagues, Silas and Timothy, hence the use of a pronoun referring to three people (“Paul, Silas and Timothy”).

Source: Joseph Hong in The Bible Translator 1994, p. 419ff.

complete verse (1 Thessalonians 2:18)

Following are a number of back-translations of 1 Thessalonians 2:18:

  • Uma: “We really did have a plan before [lit., yesterday] to go visit you, relatives. I Paulus, several times I intended to go, but the King of Evil always hindered/blocked [us].” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “We (excl.) would really like to go there to you, especially me, Paul. Several times I prepared to go soon but we (excl.) were hindered by the leader of demons.” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “Because of this we are always thinking that we would like to return to Thessalonica. As for me, Paul, I am always thinking like that, however Satan has hindered us; that’s why we have not proceeded.” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “But we (excl.) still want to return there. And as for me, I often tried to go there (near addressee), but Satanas repeatedly-blocked us (excl.).” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “We(excl.) really do very much want to return there to you. As for me, time-and-again I’ve been going to set out. But it’s true that Satanas doesn’t stop hindering, preventing our (excl.) being able to follow through.” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)
  • Tenango Otomi: “I, Paul, time after time decided that we would go to you, but the devil prevented that we go.” (Source: Tenango Otomi Back Translation)