The Greek that is translated as “purple” in English is translated as “blue-red” in Ojitlán Chinantec.

In Kasua was a little bit more involved, as Rachel Greco recalls (in The PNG Experience):

“The Kasua people of Western Province have no word for the color purple. They have words for many other colors: black, red, white, yellow, green, and blue, but not for the color of royalty.

“About nine New Testament passages mention people placing a purple robe on Jesus. The Kasua translation team always wanted to use the word ‘red,’ or keyalo, to describe the robe. Tommy, one of the translation team helpers, disagreed because this is not historically accurate or signifies the royalty of Jesus.

“One of the main rules of translation is that the team must stick to the historical facts when they translate a passage. If they don’t, then how can the readers trust what they’re reading is true? Other questions about truth could bubble in the reader’s minds about the Scriptures. For this reason, Tommy was not willing to change the word purple. So the team hung up the problem, hoping to revisit it later with more inspiration.

“God did not disappoint.

“Years later, Tommy hiked with some of the men near their village. They saw a tree that possessed bulbous growths growing on the side of it like fruit. These growths were ‘the most beautiful color of purple I’d ever seen,’ explained Tommy.

“’What is the name of this tree?’ Tommy asked the men.

“’This is an Okani tree,’ they replied.

“Tommy suggested, ‘Why don’t you, in those passages where we’ve been struggling to translate the color purple, use ‘they put a robe on Jesus the color of the fruit of the Okani tree’?

“’Yeah. We know exactly what color that is,’ the men said enthusiastically.

“Everyone in their village would also visualize this phrase accurately, as the Okani tree is the only tree in that area that produces this kind of purple growth. So now, among the Kasua people, in his royal purple robe, Jesus is shown to be the king that he is.”

Translation commentary on Exod 28:8

And the skilfully woven band upon it is literally “and a waistband which [is] upon it.” The word for “waistband” is related to the word translated as skilfully in describing the embroidered cherubim woven into the tabernacle fabric. (See the comment at 26.1.) So it was not to be just an ordinary band, but a “decorated band” (New Revised Standard Version), an “embroidered belt” (New American Bible), or “a finely woven belt” (Good News Translation). To gird it on is the verb form of the word for ephod, which means “to put on tightly.” (See the comment at verse 6.)

Shall be of the same workmanship and materials is literally “it shall be like its work from it.” This means that the “belt” is to be “made in the same way” as the ephod, and it may also mean that it is to be, as Good News Translation expresses it, “made of the same materials.” One may make this more explicit by saying “made of the same materials as the ephod.” Revised Standard Version and New Revised Standard Version choose both meanings, but others take the words “from it” to mean “so as to form one piece with it” (Good News Translation). (Similar are New Jewish Publication Society’s Tanakh, New Jerusalem Bible, and New International Version.) This means that the “belt” was to be permanently “attached to the ephod” (Good News Translation), possibly like the waistband of an apron that is tied around the waist.

Of gold, blue and purple and scarlet stuff is identical with the same phrase in verse 6. (But see the comment at 25.4 for the colors, and at 26.1 for the materials.) And fine twined linen is literally “and fine linen twisted,” as in verse 6. Since this repeats what is already said of the material for the ephod, Good News Translation simply omits it.

An alternative translation model for verses 6-8 is:

• You must have them make the ephod out of fine linen that they have skillfully woven with blue, purple, and red thread, and decorated with gold. Have them make two shoulder straps to hold the ephod up. They shall attach these to the sides [or, at the front and back] of the ephod. They must skillfully weave a belt [or, sash] out of the same materials and attach it to the front of the ephod so as to form one piece with it.

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 .