Joseph

The term that is transliterated as “Joseph” in English is translated in American Sign Language with a sign that relates to a) the coat he wore (see Gen 37:3), b) the holding of his clothes by Potiphar’s wife (see Gen 39:12), and c) the many times Joseph experienced grief. (Source: RuthAnna Spooner, Ron Lawer)


“Joseph” in American Sign Language, source: Deaf Harbor

In Spanish Sign Language it is translated with a sign that signifies “dream,” referring to Jacob’s dream at Bethel (see Genesis 28:10 and the following verses). (Source: Steve Parkhurst)


“Joseph” in Spanish Sign Language, source: Sociedad Bíblica de España

complete verse (Genesis 35:24)

Following are a number of back-translations as well as a sample translation for translators of Genesis 35:24:

  • Kankanaey: “Those moreover to-whom- Raquel -gave-birth, Jose and Benjamin.” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Newari: “From Rachel — Joseph and Benjamin.” (Source: Newari Back Translation)
  • Hiligaynon: “His children with Raquel were Jose and Benjamin.” (Source: Hiligaynon Back Translation)
  • English: “The sons of Rachel were Joseph and Benjamin.” (Source: Translation for Translators)

Translation commentary on Genesis 35:23 - 35:26

The sons of: in each case the word sons is plural in Hebrew; however, in some languages the plural is not used for small numbers like two, and it is necessary to say “two sons” for all the mothers except Leah. In translation the arrangement of the mothers and sons should be in the most natural style for this kind of text. In some languages this means saying, for example:

• Leah had six sons. Their names were Reuben, who was the first of Jacob’s sons, then Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, and the youngest Zebulun.
Rachel had two sons. Their names were Joseph and Benjamin.
Bilhah, who was Rachel’s servant, had two sons. Their names were Dan and Naphtali.
Leah’s servant Zilpah also had two sons. Their names were Gad and Asher.
All of these were Jacob’s sons, and they were born in Mesopotamia.

The last statement includes Benjamin among the sons born in Mesopotamia. However, this chapter makes clear that he was born in Canaan. Interpreters usually accept that the birth account of Benjamin in verses 16-21 is from a different tradition than the list of sons in verses 22-26.

Quoted with permission from Reyburn, William D. and Fry, Euan McG. A Handbook on Genesis. (UBS Helps for Translators). New York: UBS, 1997. For this and other handbooks for translators see here .