14Afterward they made preparations for themselves and for the priests, because the priests the descendants of Aaron were occupied in offering the burnt offerings and the fat parts until night, so the Levites made preparations for themselves and for the priests, the descendants of Aaron.
The Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic and Latin that is transliterated “Levites” in English (only the Contemporary English Version translates it as “temple helpers”) is translated in Ojitlán Chinantec as “temple caretakers,” Yatzachi Zapotec as “people born in the family line of Levi, people whose responsibility it was to do the work in the important church of the Israelites,” in Alekano as “servants in the sacrifice house from Jerusalem place,” and in Tenango Otomi as “helpers of priests.” (Source: M. Larson / B. Moore in Notes on Translation February 1970, p. 1-125.)
In American Sign Language with a sign that combines “temple” + “servant.” (Source: RuthAnna Spooner, Ron Lawer)
The Hebrew olah (עֹלָה) originally means “that which goes up (in smoke).” English Bibles often translates it as “burnt-offering” or “whole burnt-offering,” focusing on the aspect of the complete burning of the offering.
The GreekSeptuagint and the LatinVulgate Bibles translate it as holokautōma / holocautōsis (ὁλοκαύτωμα / ὁλοκαύτωσις) and holocaustum, respectively, meaning “wholly burnt.” While a form of this term is widely used in many Romance languages (Spanish: holocaustos, French: holocaustes, Italian: olocausti, Portuguese: holocaustos) and originally also in the Catholic tradition of English Bible translations, it is largely not used in English anymore today (the preface of the revised edition of the Catholic New American Bible of 2011: “There have been changes in vocabulary; for example, the term ‘holocaust’ is now normally reserved for the sacrilegious attempt to destroy the Jewish people by the Third Reich.”)
Since translation into Georgian was traditionally done on the basis of the Greek Septuagint, a transliteration of holokautōma was used as well, which was changed to a translation with the meaning of “burnt offering” when the Old Testament was retranslated in the 1980’s on the basis of the Hebrew text.
The English translation of Everett Fox uses offering-up (similarly, the German translation by Buber-Rosenzweig has Darhöhung and the French translation by Chouraqui montée).
The Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek that are typically translated as “priest” in English (itself deriving from Latin “presbyter” — “elder”) is often translated with a consideration of existing religious traditions. (Click or tap for details)
Bratcher / Nida (1961) say this:
“However, rather than borrow local names for priests, some of which have unwanted connotations, a number of translations have employed descriptive phrases based on certain functions: (1) those describing a ceremonial activity: Pamona uses tadu, the priestess who recites the litanies in which she describes her journey to the upper or under-world to fetch life-spirit for sick people, animals or plants; Batak Toba uses the Arabic malim, ‘Muslim religious teacher;’ ‘one who presents man’s sacrifice to God’ (Bambara, Eastern Maninkakan), ‘one who presents sacrifices’ (Baoulé, Navajo), ‘one who takes the name of the sacrifice’ (Kpelle, and ‘to make a sacrifice go out’ (Hausa); (2) those describing an intermediary function: ‘one who speaks to God’ (Shipibo-Conibo) and ‘spokesman of the people before God’ (Tabasco Chontal).”
In Obolo it is translated as ogwu ngwugwa or “the one who offers sacrifice” (source: Enene Enene), in Mairasi as agam aevar nevwerai: “religious leader” (source: Enggavoter 2004), in Ignaciano as “blesser, one who does ritual as a practice” (using a generic term rather than the otherwise common Spanish loan word sacerdote) (source: Willis Ott in Notes on Translation 88/1982, p. 18ff.), and in Nyongar as yakin-kooranyi or “holy worker” (source: Warda-Kwabba Luke-Ang).
“The [local] cult of Poro used to be an all-encompassing religious system that essentially governed all areas of life. (…) For ‘priest’ the term ‘poro father’ would at first seem to be a natural choice. However, several priests of the old cult are still living. Although they no longer function primarily as priests of the old system they still have a substantial influence on the community, and there would be more than a chance that the unqualified term would (in some contexts particularly) be equated with the priest of the poro cult. We learned, then, that the poro fathers would sometimes be called ‘knife men’ in relation to their sacrificial work. The panel was pleased to apply this term to the Jewish priest, and the Christian community has adopted it fully. [Mark 1:44, for instance, now] reads: ‘You must definitely not tell any man of this. But you go show your body to the knife man and do what Moses said about a sacrifice concerning your being healed, and the cause (base of this) will be apparent.'”
Bau cha r (បូជាចារ្យ) — The use of this new construction meaning “priest” is maintained to translate the Greek word hiereus. The term “mean sang (មាន សង្ឃ)” used in the old version actually means a “Buddhist monk,” and is felt to be theologically misleading. The Khmer considers the Buddhist monk as a “paddy field of merits,” a reserve of merits to be shared with other people. So a Khmer reader would find unthinkable that the mean sang in the Bible killed animals, the gravest sin for a Buddhist; and what a scandal it would be to say that a mean sang was married, had children, and drank wine.
The different Hebrew and Greek terms that are translated as “(olive) oil” and “(animal) fat” in English are translated in Kwere with only one term: mavuta. (Pioneer Bible Translators, project-specific translation notes in Paratext)
And afterward means after the Levites had cooked the Passover animals and sacrificial animals and had handed the meat over to their fellow Israelites.
They prepared for themselves and for the priests: The pronoun they refers to “the Levites” (New Living Translation, New Century Version). The verb prepared has no direct object in the Hebrew. Good News Translation adds the object “meat.” Moffatt supplies the noun “flesh.” Another way of handling this problem is by rendering this clause as “they made preparations for themselves and for the priests” (New International Version).
Because the priests the sons of Aaron were busied in offering the burnt offerings and the fat parts until night: The Levites had to prepare the meat for the priests because the priests were occupied with offering sacrifices. The words were busied are supplied by Revised Standard Version; they are not in the Hebrew text. Most modern versions add an expression like this as the context requires. New Revised Standard Version adds “were occupied,” which is more natural in English. It will be possible in some languages to supply only the verb “to be” by rendering this clause as “because the priests … were offering the burnt offerings…” since the idea of busyness is not actually present in the text. In this context the sons of Aaron is better rendered “the descendants of Aaron” (New Revised Standard Version) or “descended from Aaron” (Good News Translation). The fat parts probably refers to the fatty animal parts of fellowship offerings (so Dillard; see the comments on 2 Chr 7.7 and 29.35). Bible en français courant renders the burnt offerings and the fat parts as “the complete offerings and the fatty parts of the other sacrifices.”
So the Levites prepared for themselves and for the priests …: This summary statement is a repetition of information already given at the beginning of the verse. If such repetition is unnatural or awkward in the receptor language, it may be omitted (so Good News Translation).
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 .