The Greek that is translated in English as “prison” is translated in Dehu as moapokamo or “house for tying up people” (source: Maurice Leenhardt in The Bible Translator 1951, p. 97ff. ) and in Nyongar as maya-maya dedinyang or “house shut” (source: Warda-Kwabba Luke-Ang).

inclusive vs. exclusive pronoun (Acts 16:37)

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 anyone except Paul and Silas).

Source: SIL International Translation Department (1999).

complete verse (Acts 16:37)

Following are a number of back-translations of Acts 16:37:

  • Uma: “But Paulus said to the police: ‘We(excl.) here are Romans. Our(excl.) case had not-yet been tried according to the laws of the Roma government, we (excl.) were right-away beaten in front of the crowd [lit., in the eyes of the crowd] and jailed. Yet now they want to make us (excl.) leave secretly / without saying anything. We(excl.) don’t want to! You tell them there, that they must come themselves and free us (excl.).'” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “But Paul said to the policemen, ‘Yesterday we (excl.) were whipped by them in the midst of the people although we (excl.) had not been investigated. And-what’s-more we (excl.) here are people of Roma. Then they imprisoned us (excl.) yet. And now they want to send us (excl.) away in secret? It cannot be,’ Paul said. ‘Those officials shall come and let us (excl.) out.'” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “And then Paul didn’t accept this and he said to the police, ‘It cannot be because we are towned under the law of the town of Rome, and they have broken the law of the Romans because they did not investigate us and we have not broken the law. But they caused us to be beaten before all the people and they put us in jail. And now you would hide our being sent away? It is not possible because it is necessary that the ones to come and set us free are your bosses, the Roman officials.'” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “But Pablo said to the police, ‘They had-us (excl.) -whipped with the many-people spectating without first trying-us (excl.), then they imprisoned-us (excl.), and we (excl.) are emphatically Romano. And here-now they want us (excl.) to keep-quiet in leaving? It is emphatically not possible! Let-the judges come (here) -instead (lit. even-if …come) so that they will be the ones to escort us (excl.) to leave.'” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “But Pablo replied to those sent ones, ‘Expl! What kind of talk is that, since, although we (excl.) have Romanoship, we (excl.) have been beaten publicly, without even being interrogated/tried, and then imprisoned too? Well now, they want us (excl.) to be released without people’s awareness. We(excl.) really can’t accept that. It’s necessary that they, the highest officials, come here for they will be the ones to release us (excl.).'” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)