taste death

The Greek and Latin that is translated as “taste death” in English is translated in Guhu-Samane as “die” because “the term suggests cannibalism to Papua New Guinea natives.”

Source: Ernest L. Richert in Notes on Translation December 1963: p. 4-7; reprinted in The Bible Translator 1965, p. 198ff. .

Translation commentary on 2 Esdras 6:26

And they shall see the men who were taken up, who from their birth have not tasted death: The men who were taken up to heaven without dying were Enoch (Gen 5.24; Sir 44.16; 49.14) and Elijah (2 Kgs 2.11-12; Sir 48.9). Have not tasted death is an elegant way of saying “never died” (Good News Bible; compare Matt 16.28; John 8.52). In languages that do not have the passive voice, this sentence may be rendered “They will see those who never died but God took them up into heaven.”

And the heart of the earth’s inhabitants shall be changed and converted to a different spirit means God will change the minds of the people on earth, so that they think differently (compare Mal 4.5-6). In some languages translators will be able to talk about “the hearts and minds of people” being changed. In other languages simply referring to “hearts” or “minds” will be sufficient. However, it may also be possible to express this sentence as “God will cause everyone on earth to think differently.” The Revised Standard Version footnote here may be ignored.

Quoted with permission from Bullard, Roger A. and Hatton, Howard A. A Handbook on 1-2 Esdras. (UBS Helps for Translators). Miami: UBS, 2019. For this and other handbooks for translators see here.