The Greek that is often translated as “gentiles” in English is often translated as a “local equivalent of ‘foreigners,'” such “the people of other lands” (Guerrero Amuzgo), “people of other towns” (Tzeltal), “people of other languages” (San Miguel El Grande Mixtec), “strange peoples” (Navajo) (this and above, see Bratcher / Nida), “outsiders” (Ekari), “people of foreign lands” (Kannada), “non-Jews” (North Alaskan Inupiatun), “people being-in-darkness” (a figurative expression for people lacking cultural or religious insight) (Toraja-Sa’dan) (source for this and three above Reiling / Swellengrebel), “from different places all people” (Martu Wangka) (source: Carl Gross).
Tzeltal translates it as “people in all different towns,” Chicahuaxtla Triqui as “the people who live all over the world,” Highland Totonac as “all the outsider people” and Sayula Popoluca “(people) in every land.” (Source: Waterhouse / Parrott in Notes on Translation October 1967, p. 1ff.)
See also nations.
The Hebrew and Greek terms that are translated as “circumcise” or “circumcision” in English are (back-) translated in various ways:
- Chimborazo Highland Quichua: “to cut the flesh”
- San Miguel El Grande Mixtec, Navajo: “to cut around’
- Javanese: “to clip-away”
- Uab Meto: “to pinch and cut” (usually shortened to “to cut”)
- North Alaskan Inupiatun, Western Highland Purepecha: “to put the mark”
- Tetelcingo Nahuatl: “to put the mark in the body showing that they belong to God” (or: “that they have a covenant with God”)
- Indonesian: disunat — “undergo sunat” (sunat is derived from Arabic “sunnah (سنة)” — “(religious) way (of life)”)
- Ekari: “to cut the end of the member for which one fears shame” (in Gen. 17:10) (but typically: “the cutting custom”) (source for this and above: Reiling / Swellengrebel)
- Hiri Motu: “cut the skin” (source: Deibler / Taylor 1977, p. 1079)
- Garifuna: “cut off part of that which covers where one urinates”
- Bribri: “cut the soft” (source for this and the one above: Ronald Ross)
- Amele: deweg cagu qoc — “cut the body” (source: John Roberts)
- Eastern Highland Otomi: “cut the flesh of the sons like Moses taught” (source: Ronald D. Olson in Notes on Translation January, 1968, p. 15ff.)
- Newari: “put the sign in one’s bodies” (Source: Newari Back Translation)
Following are a number of back-translations of Acts 21:21:
- Uma: “Yet they also have heard news criticizing you(s). They heard that you(s) teach the Yahudi people who dwell-as-foreigners with the non-Yahudi people so that they no longer follow the Law of Musa. You(s) teach them not to circumcise their children any longer and not to follow any longer the custom of our elders long ago.” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
- Yakan: “They have been told about you, that you teach reportedly (ko’) to all the Yahudi living in the places of other tribes, that they should no longer follow/obey the law of Musa. You say reportedly that they no longer should circumcise their children and they no longer should follow the customs of the Yahudi tribe.” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
- Western Bukidnon Manobo: “They have heard a report that our companion Jews that are in the towns where the Gentiles live, they heard that you teach them that they should stop keeping the law that was left behind long ago by Moses. You teach them, they say, that they should not circumcize their male children, and that they should no longer follow the customs of us (incl.) Jews.” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
- Kankanaey: “They have heard that you (singular) have reportedly been teaching the Jews who live in the many-towns of the Gentiles that they turn-their -backs-on the commands of Moses and that they not circumcise their children and moreover that they not follow the customs of us Jews.” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
- Tagbanwa: “They have heard news that you are always teaching to all the Jews in the lands where you have gone that they now let go of the laws of Moises. You are saying, it’s said, that they are no longer to circumcize their sons and no longer follow/obey all the customs handed down to us by Moises.” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)
The name that is transliterated as “Moses” in English is signed in Spanish Sign Language in accordance with the depiction of Moses in the famous statue by Michelangelo (see here). (Source: John Elwode in The Bible Translator 2008, p. 78ff.)
“Moses” in Spanish Sign Language (source)
Another depiction in Spanish Sign Language (source: Carlos Moreno Sastre):
The horns that are visible in Michelangelo’s statue are based on a passage in the Latin Vulgate translation (and many Catholic Bible translations that were translated through the 1950ies with that version as the source text). Jerome, the translator, had worked from a Hebrew text without the niqquds, the diacritical marks that signify the vowels in Hebrew and had interpreted the term קרו (k-r-n) in Exodus 34:29 as קֶ֫רֶן — keren “horned,” rather than קָרַו — karan “radiance” (describing the radiance of Moses’ head as he descends from Mount Sinai).
Even at the time of his translation, Jerome likely was not the only one making that decision as this recent article alludes to.