The Greek that is translated as “centurion” in English is translated in Noongar as “boss of the Roman soldiers (lit.: ‘men of fighting’)” (source: Warda-Kwabba Luke-Ang), in Uma as “Roman army warchief” (source: Uma Back Translation), in Western Bukidnon Manobo as “a person who was not a Jew, the captain of a hundred soldiers” (source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation), and in Mairasi “leader of Roman warriors” (source: Enggavoter 2004).

complete verse (Acts 22:26)

Following are a number of back-translations of Acts 22:26:

  • Uma: “Hearing that, the warchief went to his head and said: ‘What shall we do, Sir [lit., Head]? For he is a Roma person.'” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “When the lieutenant heard this, he went to the colonel and said, ‘What is this that we (dual) almost did? That man is surprise a man of Roma.'” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “And when the sergeant heard this, he went to the captain and he said, ‘Why are you having us beat a man who is a subject of Rome?'” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “Upon the captain’s hearing that-aforementioned which Pablo said, he went and reported-the-negative-news to the commander. ‘Watch-out what you (sing.) do to that person, because he is reportedly a Romano.'” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “When that captain heard, he went to that highest-ranking-officer and said, ‘Please think first about this which you have commanded, for this person you intend to do like this to apparently has Romanoship.'” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)

formal 2nd person pronoun (Spanish)

Like many languages (but unlike Greek or Hebrew or English), Spanish uses a formal vs. informal second-person pronoun (a familiar vs. a respectful “you”). Spanish Bibles all use only the informal second-person pronoun (), with the exception of Dios Habla Hoy (third edition: 1996) which also uses the formal pronoun (usted). In the referenced verses, the formal form is used.

Sources and for more information: P. Ellingworth in The Bible Translator 2002, p. 143ff. and R. Ross in The Bible Translator 1993, p. 217ff.

See also the use of the formal vs. the informal pronoun in the Gospels in Tuvan.

third person pronoun with high register

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 a third person singular and plural pronoun (“he,” “she,” “it” and their various forms) as shown here in the widely-used Japanese Shinkaiyaku (新改訳) Bible of 2017. While it’s not uncommon to avoid pronouns altogether in Japanese, there are is a range of third person pronouns that can be used.

In these verses a number of them are used that pay particularly much respect to the referred person (or, in fact, God, as in Exodus 15:2), including kono kata (この方), sono kata (その方), and ano kata (あの方), meaning “this person,” “that person,” and “that person over there.”

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

See also third person pronoun with exalted register.

Translation commentary on Acts 22:26

In this context the term officer is more or less equivalent to “captain” in a modern army, while commander would be equivalent to “colonel.” In languages in which no such distinctions are made, one can always say “soldier” and “one who commands the soldiers.”

What are you doing? is rendered by most translations as “What are you going to do?” The question itself may indicate either action in progress or contemplated action.

Quoted with permission from Newman, Barclay M. and Nida, Eugene A. A Handbook on The Acts of the Apostles. (UBS Handbook Series). New York: UBS, 1972. For this and other handbooks for translators see here .