nurse (verb)

The Hebrew and Greek that is translated as “nurse” in English is translated in German as stillen or “to quiet.”

The das Buch translation by Roland Werner (publ. 2009-2022) and the BasisBibel (publ. 2021) also use the same verb in Psalm 131:2 (for this choice, see here).

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.

addressing someone respectfully in direct speech in Japanese

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 of appropriate suffix title referred to as keishō (敬称) as shown here in the widely-used Japanese Shinkaiyaku (新改訳) Bible of 2017 by either using -san or –sama with the latter being the more formal title.

This is evident in these verses in the Shinkaiyaku Bible from the form anata-sama (あなた様) “you” which is the combination of the nominal “you” anata and the suffix title –sama.

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

second 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 second person pronoun (“you” and its various forms) as shown here in the widely-used Japanese Shinkaiyaku (新改訳) Bible of 2017. The most commonly used anata (あなた) is typically used when the speaker is humbly addressing another person.

In these verses, however, the more venerable anata-sama (あなた様) is used, which combines anata with the with a formal title -sama.

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

Translation commentary on Exod 2:7 - 2:8

It must be assumed that his sister joined the princess and her servants in the excitement of finding the baby, for she did not have to call to her. She simply said or “asked her” (Good News Translation). Since the sister was last mentioned in verse 4, it will be helpful in many languages to say “the baby’s [older] sister.” In certain languages it will also be necessary again to identify Pharaoh’s daughter, as the Hebrew has done, and translate “Then the baby’s sister said to the king’s daughter” (see Revised Standard Version). Shall I go may also be expressed as “Do you want me to go….”

The nurse intended here was a “wet-nurse” (New English Bible) for the purpose of breast-feeding the child. This was an immediate need which the princess would have recognized. It should not be difficult for most translators to find a suitable term for “wet-nurse.” In some languages this person is referred to as “milk mother.” Hebrew women should not be changed to “Israelite women” (as noted in the comment on 1.15).

Go in Revised Standard Version should not be understood as a stern command. Rather it was a natural response of agreement to the girl’s suggestion. It may be rendered as “Please do” (Good News Translation), “Yes” The New Jerusalem Bible [New Jerusalem Bible], or “Yes, do so” (New American Bible). The child’s mother refers to the baby’s own mother, but of course she was also the girl’s mother.

Quoted with permission from Osborn, Noel D. and Hatton, Howard A. A Handbook on Exodus. (UBS Helps for Translators). New York: UBS, 1999. For this and other handbooks for translators see here .