flesh (human nature)

The Greek that is often translated as “flesh” in English (when referring to the lower human nature) can, according to Nidq (1947, p. 153) “very rarely be literally translated into another language. ‘My meat’ or ‘my muscle’ does not make sense in most languages.” He then gives a catalog of almost 30 questions to determine a correct translation for that term.

Accordingly, the translations are very varied:

See also spirit / flesh.

complete verse (Galatians 6:13)

Following are a number of back-translations of Galatians 6:13:

  • Uma: “But actually, those people who are following the custom of circumcision, even they are not following all the Law of Musa. Their desire is for you to be circumcised so that they will be proud [lit., their hearts will be big] of your following their orders.” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “Even though they teach that you ought to be circumcised as the law written by Musa commands, they do not follow/obey all the commands in the law. They force/persuade you to be circumcised only so that they can boast that they are the ones who convinced you therefore you were circumcised.” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “As for those people, now they teach that it is necessary that you be circumcised according to the teaching of the Law. But in spite of that, they do not thoroughly keep the Law. The reason they want that you be circumcised is so that they might be praised because you have become their converts.” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “Even those who are circumcised, they don’t obey all the laws of Moses, but they want you to get-circumcised so they will be able to boast that you got-circumcised because of them.” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “But even those who have themselves circimcised, they are not in fact obeying those laws with true obedience. They are just forcing you to be circumcised so that they will be praised because they persuaded you to join the way that they are following.” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)
  • Tenango Otomi: “Well, these teachers whose bodies are marked do not even do all that the law says. They only want you to be marked in order that where they talk they can be proud, saying that you have obeyed them in getting marked.” (Source: Tenango Otomi Back Translation)

circumcise, circumcision

(To view the different translations of this term in a simplified graphical form on a new page, click or tap here.)

The Hebrew and Greek terms that are translated as “circumcise” or “circumcision” in English (originally meaning of English term: “to cut around”) are (back-) translated in various ways:

  • Chimborazo Highland Quichua: “to cut the flesh”
  • San Miguel El Grande Mixtec, Navajo: “to cut around”
  • Javanese: “to clip-away”
  • Uab Meto: “to pinch and cut” (usually shortened to “to cut”)
  • North Alaskan Inupiatun, Western Highland Purepecha: “to put the mark”
  • Tetelcingo Nahuatl: “to put the mark in the body showing that they belong to God” (or: “that they have a covenant with God”)
  • Indonesian: disunat — “undergo sunat” (sunat is derived from Arabic “sunnah (سنة)” — “(religious) way (of life)”)
  • Ekari: “to cut the end of the member for which one fears shame” (in Gen. 17:10) (but typically: “the cutting custom”) (source for this and above: Reiling / Swellengrebel)
  • Hiri Motu: “cut the skin” (source: Deibler / Taylor 1977, p. 1079)
  • Garifuna: “cut off part of that which covers where one urinates”
  • Bribri: “cut the soft” (source for this and the one above: Ronald Ross)
  • Amele: deweg cagu qoc — “cut the body” (source: John Roberts)
  • Eastern Highland Otomi: “cut the flesh of the sons like Moses taught” (source: Ronald D. Olson in Notes on Translation January, 1968, p. 15ff.)
  • Newari: “put the sign in one’s bodies” (Source: Newari Back Translation)
  • Central Mazahua: “sign in his flesh”
  • Hopi: “being cut in a circle in his body” (source for this and above: Waterhouse / Parrott in Notes on Translation October 1967, p. 1ff.)


The Greek that is translated in English as “Law” or “law” is translated in Mairasi as oro nasinggiei or “prohibited things.” (Source: Enggavoter 2004)

In Yucateco the phrase that is used for “law” is “ordered-word” (for “commandment,” it is “spoken-word”) (source: Nida 1947, p. 198) and in Central Tarahumara it is “writing-command.” (wsource: Waterhouse / Parrott in Notes on Translation October 1967, p. 1ff.)