boat, ship

The Greek that is translated “boat” or “ship” in English is translated in Chichimeca-Jonaz as “that with which we can walk on water” (source: Ronald D. Olson in Notes on Translation January, 1968, p. 15ff.) and in Kamwe as “water vehicle” (“people have never seen a large body of water, let alone a boat” — source: Roger Mohrlang in this article).

In Kouya it is translated as ‘glʋ ‘kadʋ — “big canoe.”

Philip Saunders (p. 231) explains how the Kouya team arrived at that conclusion:

“Acts chapter 27 was a challenge! It describes Paul’s sea voyage to Italy, and finally Rome. There is a storm at sea and a shipwreck on Malta, and the chapter includes much detailed nautical vocabulary. How do you translate this for a landlocked people group, most of whom have never seen the ocean? All they know are small rivers and dugout canoes.

“We knew that we could later insert some illustrations during the final paging process which would help the Kouya readers to picture what was happening, but meanwhile we struggled to find or invent meaningful terms. The ‘ship’ was a ‘big canoe’ and the ‘passengers’ were ‘the people in the big canoe’; the ‘crew’ were the ‘workers in the big canoe’; the ‘pilot’ was the ‘driver of the big canoe’; the ‘big canoe stopping place’ was the ‘harbour’, and the ‘big canoe stopping metal’ was the ‘anchor’!”

See also harbor, anchor, and sailor.

sailor

The Greek that is translated as “sailor(s)” in English is translated in Kouya as “worker(s) in the big canoe.”

Philip Saunders (p. 231) explains:

Acts chapter 27 was a challenge! It describes Paul’s sea voyage to Italy, and finally Rome. There is a storm at sea and a shipwreck on Malta, and the chapter includes much detailed nautical vocabulary. How do you translate this for a landlocked people group, most of whom have never seen the ocean? All they know are small rivers and dugout canoes.

We knew that we could later insert some illustrations during the final paging process which would help the Kouya readers to picture what was happening, but meanwhile we struggled to find or invent meaningful terms. The ‘ship’ was a ‘big canoe’ and the ‘passengers’ were ‘the people in the big canoe’; the ‘crew’ were the ‘workers in the big canoe’; the ‘pilot’ was the ‘driver of the big canoe’; the ‘big canoe stopping place’ was the ‘harbour’, and the ‘big canoe stopping metal’ was the ‘anchor’!”

In Rincón Zapotec, it is translated as “men who had the care of the boat.” (Source: Viola Waterhouse in Notes on Translation August 1966, p. 86ff.)

complete verse (Acts 27:30)

Following are a number of back-translations of Acts 27:30:

  • Uma: “From there, those workers of the ship wanted to quietly flee from the ship. That is why they lowered the small boat to the sea, pretending that they wanted to tie heavy iron to the front of the ship.” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “The men working on the ship were about to escape/flee from the ship. They pretended to go to the prow of the ship to drop anchors and they unfastened the rope on which the lifeboat hung and they let it down to the sea.” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “The workers there on the ship, they wanted to leave us and get away from the ship. They put down the boat, and they lied to us saying that they were going to put anchors on the front end.” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “Whereupon those-aforementioned workers on the ship, they wanted to escape. So they lowered the small-boat into the ocean with the pretend reason that they needed to put-on-board some of the irons in order to go lower-them from the front of the ship.” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “And then when it was now like that, those sailors decided that they would now leave the ship. Therefore they began to lower to the sea the boat which was on board, making pretense of throwing an anchor out in front.” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)