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

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.

complete verse (Genesis 40:12)

Following are a number of back-translations as well as a sample translation for translators of Genesis 40:12:

  • Kankanaey: “‘This is its meaning,’ said Jose replying. ‘Those-aforementioned three branches of it, that is three days,” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Newari: “Joseph said to him — ‘In your dream, the three branches stand for three days.” (Source: Newari Back Translation)
  • Hiligaynon: “Jose said, ‘This is the meaning of your (sing.) dream: The three branches mean three days.” (Source: Hiligaynon Back Translation)
  • English: “God immediately told Joseph what the dream meant. So Joseph said to him, ‘This is the meaning of your dream: The three branches of the vine represent three days.” (Source: Translation for Translators)

Translation commentary on Genesis 40:12

This is its interpretation: This points forward to what Joseph is about to say.

The three branches are three days is literally “the three branches three days.” The sense of this expression is that the three branches stand for or symbolize three days.

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 .