transgression, trespass

The Greek that is often translated as “trespass” or “transgression” in English is translated as “missing the commandment” in Kipsigis and “to step beyond the law” in Navajo. (Source: Bratcher / Nida 1961)

In Tepeuxila Cuicatec it is translated as “thing not reached.” Marjorie Davis (in The Bible Translator 1952, p. 34ff.) explains: “[This] implies that the goal was not reached, the task was not finished, or of finished, it was not satisfactorily done. According to the Cuicateco way of thinking of one does not what is expected of him, he offends [or: trespasses] and is an offence.”

meek, meekness

The Greek that is often translated as “meek” or “meekness” in English is translated in Malba Birifor as hɛlɛlɛ. David B. Woodford (in The Bible Translator 1962, p. 181) tells how that translation was uncovered: “Some words come by the accidents God provides. For a long while we had searched in vain for a word adequate to express ‘meekness.’ Then we gave up (temporarily), and took a walk outside for a break. The grain-stalks left after harvesting were beginning to sprout again, so I said [to the language assistant], ‘Look, they’re sprouting.’ ‘No,’ he said, ‘they’re hɛlɛlɛ.’ ‘What does that mean?’ ‘That is the word we use for new leaves when they are big enough and strong enough to bend and not to break. We use it for people too, who are so strong inside that they don’t need or want to fight you. But if a person is hard and brittle like a dead leaf it means that he is not really strong.’ And that is surely a better word for Bible meekness than anything we can say in English!”

See also gentleness.


The Greek that is translated as “tempt” in English is translated in Nyongar as djona-karra or “reveal conduct.” (Source: Warda-Kwabba Luke-Ang)

See also tempted by Satan.

brother (fellow believer)

The Greek that is translated in English as “brother” (in the sense of a fellow believer), is translated with a specifically coined word in Kachin: “There are two terms for brother in Kachin. One is used to refer to a Christian brother. This term combines ‘older and younger brother.’ The other term is used specifically for addressing siblings. When one uses this term, one must specify if the older or younger person is involved. A parallel system exists for ‘sister’ as well. In [these verses], the term for ‘a Christian brother’ is used.” (Source: Gam Seng Shae)

In Martu Wangka it is translated as “relative” (this is also the term that is used for “follower.”) (Source: Carl Gross)

See also brothers.

complete verse (Galatians 6:1)

Following are a number of back-translations of Galatians 6:1:

  • Uma: “Relatives, if we see our one-faith relatives doing wrong behavior, we who are controlled by the Holy Spirit must lead them back to the true way. But our words must not be harsh, we must speak to them gently. And be careful, so that we also are not tempted to commit sin.” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “My brothers, if there is one of your fellow trusters in Isa Almasi caught doing evil, you, the ones ruled by God’s Spirit, you ought to correct/stop him so that you can influence/carry him again to follow/obey what God wants. But you should make-good/be gentle the way you teach him. And be careful/watch-out lest you also happen-to-be tempted by demon(s) and you are caused to sin.” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “Brothers, if there is one of your fellow believers and you know that he has disobeyed God, as for you who are inspired by the Holy Spirit, you help him so that he might not abandon his obedience to the will of God. However, it’s necessary that you be very kind in helping him. Be on your guard because you also might be tempted by Satan.” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “Brothers, if you find-out that there is a companion of yours who has been-led-astray by sin, you who are being-directed by the Holy Spirit, advise him in order to cause-him-to-return koma to the correct path. The way you advise him should be gentle and at-the-same-time each one of you should be careful lest you are also successfully-tempted.” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “Brethren, supposing there is one of you who has been defeated by a certain sin, it’s necessary (that) you who are really submitting to the control of the Espiritu Santo correct/straighten him. But do this with big meekness/patience. And always indeed be alert for danger, for maybe soon you next will be the ones defeated by Satan’s temptation/test.” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)
  • Tenango Otomi: “Listen, my dear brethren, when you know that one of your companions has committed sin, those who walk with the Holy Spirit should talk with the one who committed sin, telling him to leave off from what he is doing. But speak softly when you reprove him. Be very careful that you do not do also the same sin, afterwards.” (Source: Tenango Otomi Back Translation)