large numbers in Angguruk Yali

Many languages use a “body part tally system” where body parts function as numerals (see body part tally systems with a description). One such language is Angguruk Yali which uses a system that ends at the number 27. To circumvent this limitation, the Angguruk Yali translators adopted a strategy where a large number is first indicated with an approximation via the traditional system, followed by the exact number according to Arabic numerals. For example, where in 2 Samuel 6:1 it says “thirty thousand” in the English translation, the Angguruk Yali says teng-teng angge 30.000 or “so many rounds [following the body part tally system] 30,000,” likewise, in Acts 27:37 where the number “two hundred seventy-six” is used, the Angguruk Yali translation says teng-teng angge 276 or “so many rounds 276,” or in John 6:10 teng-teng angge 5.000 for “five thousand.”

This strategy is used in all the verses referenced here.

Source: Lourens de Vries in The Bible Translator 1998, p. 409ff.

See also numbers in Ngalum and numbers in Kombai.

Translation commentary on 2 Chronicles 13:3

Abijah went out to battle … is literally “And Abijah tied on [or, bound] the battle….” The Hebrew verb here is used metaphorically without indicating whether Abijah was the aggressor, although some interpreters think that the Hebrew verb means “began” in this context. Since verse 4 indicates that the battle began in territory belonging to the northern kingdom, this suggests that Abijah was the aggressor.

The text speaks of valiant men of war, picked men, and picked mighty warriors. There is little difference in meaning between these expressions. They refer to the best warriors (see the comments on 1 Chr 19.10). The last two expressions focus on the fact that these warriors were specifically chosen for this battle. Good News Translation translates picked mighty warriors simply as “an army,” but this rendering fails to translate the idea that these were especially chosen fighters. However, in verse 17 Good News Translation refers to them as “best soldiers.”

And Jeroboam drew up his line of battle against him: The Hebrew verb rendered drew up his line of battle literally means “arranged.” Jeroboam arranged his soldiers side by side in rows to face the army of Abijah. Another possible rendering is “organized his soldiers in battle formation.”

Quoted with permission from Omanson, Roger L. and Ellington, John E. A Handbook on 1-2 Chronicles, Volume 1. (UBS Helps for Translators). Miami: UBS, 2014. For this and other handbooks for translators see here .