salvation

The Greek that is translated with “salvation” in English is translated in the following ways:

  • San Blas Kuna: “receive help for bad deeds” (“this help is not just any kind of help but help for the soul which has sinned)
  • Northwestern Dinka: “help as to his soul” (“or literally, ‘his breath'”) (source for this and the one above: Nida 1952, p. 140)
  • Central Mazahua: “healing the heart” (source: Nida 1952, p. 40)
  • Tzeltal: col: “get loose,” “go free,” “get well” (source: Marianna C. Slocum in The Bible Translator 1958, p. 49f. )
  • Aari: “the day our Savior comes” (in Rom 13:11) (source: Loren Bliese)

in Mairasi its is translated as “life fruit” or “life fruit all mashed out.” Lloyd Peckham explains: “In secret stories, not knowable to women nor children, there was a magical fruit of life. If referred to vaguely, without specifying the specific ‘fruit,’ it can be an expression for eternity.” And for “all masked out” he explains: “Bark cloth required pounding. It got longer and wider as it got pounded. Similarly, life gets pounded or mashed to lengthen it into infinity. Tubers also get mashed into the standard way of serving the staple food, like the fufu of Uganda, or like poi of Hawaii. It spreads out into infinity.” (See also eternity / forever)

In Lisu a poetic construct is used for this term. Arrington (2020, p. 58f.) explains: “A four-word couplet uses Lisu poetic forms to bridge the abstract concrete divide, an essential divide to cross if Christian theology is to be understood by those with oral thought patterns. Each couplet uses three concrete nouns or verbs to express an abstract term. An example of this is the word for salvation, a quite abstract term essential to understanding Christian theology. To coin this new word, the missionary translators used a four-word couplet: ℲO., CYU. W: CYU (person … save … person … save). In this particular case, the word for person was not the ordinary word (ʁ) but rather the combination of ℲO., and W: used in oral poetry. The word for ‘save’ also had to be coined; in this case, it was borrowed from Chinese [from jiù / 救]. These aspects of Lisu poetry, originally based on animism, likely would have been lost as Lisu society encountered communism and modernization. Yet they are now codified in the Lisu Bible as well as the hymnbook.”

See also save and save (Japanese honorifics) / salvation (of God) (Japanese honorifics).

appoint

The Greek that is often translated as “appoint” in English has the option of various terms in Luang with different shades of meaning.

For Mark 13:20, naliri-natoha (“choose-move”) was chosen. This is used if “choosing something to set aside for future use, with the additional idea that there are a large number of objects being chosen as opposed to only one and connoting separating/sifting of the good from the bad.”

For Acts 4:12, ntutmata-nkewra’a (“point eyes-lift chin”) was chosen. This is used when “appointing one special person to do a very special job that no one else can do. The focus is also on a special person doing the choosing. This is often the term used in verses that speak of what Jesus Christ was appointed to do and of how Paul was an apostle chosen by God.”

For Acts 14:23 and Titus 1:5, rana (“lift up”) was chosen. This is used for “people choosing people to be over them. This is often the term used for the appointing of elders of the church.”

Source: Kathy Taber in Notes on Translation 1/1999, p. 9-16.

See also appoint (Japanese honorifics).

save

The Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic, and Latin that is translated as a form of “save” in English is translated in Shipibo-Conibo with a phrase that means literally “make to live,” which combines the meaning of “to rescue” and “to deliver from danger,” but also the concept of “to heal” or “restore to health.”

In San Blas Kuna it is rendered as “help the heart,” in Laka, it is “take by the hand” in the meaning of “rescue” or “deliver,” in Huautla Mazatec the back-translation of the employed term is “lift out on behalf of,” in Anuak, it is “have life because of,” in Central Mazahua “be healed in the heart,” in Baoulé “save one’s head” (meaning to rescue a person in the fullest sense), in Guerrero Amuzgo “come out well,” in Northwestern Dinka “be helped as to his breath” (or “life”) (source: Bratcher / Nida), and in Noongar barrang-ngandabat or “hold life” (source: Warda-Kwabba Luke-Ang).

In South Bolivian Quechua it is “make to escape” and in Highland Puebla Nahuatl, it is “cause people to come out with the aid of the hand.” (Source: Nida 1947, p. 222.)

See also salvation and save (Japanese honorifics).

inclusive vs. exclusive pronoun (Acts 4:12)

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 inclusive form (including all mankind).

Source: Velma Pickett and Florence Cowan in Notes on Translation January 1962, p. 1ff.

complete verse (Acts 4:12)

Following are a number of back-translations of Acts 4:12:

  • Uma: “There is no other way to receive salvation from God, only Yesus. Because in all the world there is no other person, only Yesus whom God provided for man, only he has power to lift us from the punishment of our sin.'” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “And really he is the only one who can save us (incl.). Because here in this whole world, there is no other/nothing else given by God that can save us (incl.) except only Isa.'” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “It is only Jesus who can set us free from punishment,’ said Peter, ‘because here in all the world there is no other person who is able to do it which God has given.'” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “It is only Jesus who can save us. Because there is no other in the entire world that God has sent to save us except him.'” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “It’s true, there really is no-one at all from whom salvation can be gotten from the punishment for sin, except this Jesu-Cristo only. For there is no-one else here under the heavens who has been given by God who can save us, but on the contrary this one only.'” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)
  • Chuj: “‘There is no other person who can save us; because there is no other person whom God has shown to people on this earth who can save us. Only Jesus,’ said Peter.”
  • Lalana Chinantec: “‘Only Jesus is able to save people. Only Jesus did God give. All over the world there is no one else who is able to save people.’ That’s what Peter said.”
  • Isthmus Mixe: “Another person cannot save us. But Jesus Christ can. For no other person in this world has been appointed to save us.”
  • Totontepec Mixe: “No one else is able that he forgive the sins of the earth people. Jesus alone is able to forgive our sins. God has sent no one else to forgive sins.”
  • Teutila Cuicatec: “There is not a single person who can save us apart from him, the one who has the authority to save the people on this earth.” (source for this and four above: Viola Waterhouse in Notes on Translation August 1966, p. 86ff.)

name (of God) (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, the “divine” honorific prefix mi- (御 or み) can be used, as in mi-na (御名) or “name (of God)” in the referenced verses.

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

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.