help (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 to do this is through the usage (or a lack) of an honorific prefix as shown here in the widely-used Japanese Shinkaiyaku (新改訳) Bible of 2017.

The concept of “help” is translated in the Shinkaiyaku Bible as o-tasuke (お助け), combining “help” (tasuke) with the respectful prefix o-.

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

be aware / be known / look (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 to do this is through the usage (or a lack) of an honorific prefix as shown here in the widely-used Japanese Shinkaiyaku (新改訳) Bible of 2017. When the referent is God or a person or persons to be greatly honored, the honorific prefix go- (御 or ご) can be used, as in go-shōchi (ご承知), a combination of “be aware” (shōchi) and the honorific prefix go-.

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

Translation commentary on 2 Kings 1:14

Lo: This Hebrew particle is more often translated “behold” in Revised Standard Version. It focuses attention on the description that follows and shows the intensity of the officer’s plea for mercy. American Bible translates it “Indeed.” Others render it “See” (New International Version, New Century Version), “Look” (New Revised Standard Version), and “Already” (New American Bible, New Jewish Publication Society’s Tanakh).

Fire came down from heaven: This may be legitimately translated “God sent fire from heaven” or possibly “lightning fell from heaven.” See verses 10 and 12.

As in verses 10 and 12, the Hebrew verb for consumed is the same word that would be rendered “ate” in other contexts. This is nothing more than a dramatic way of saying that the fire “killed” these officers and their men. Some other possible renderings are “devoured” (Nouvelle version Segond révisée), “wiped out” (Contemporary English Version), and “exterminated” (Bible en français courant).

Let my life be precious in your sight: The plea for mercy is repeated as in the previous verse except that here, the officer does not include the fifty men in his command.

Quoted with permission from Omanson, Roger L. and Ellington, John E. A Handbook on 1-2 Kings, Volume 2. (UBS Helps for Translators). New York: UBS, 2008. 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. )