brothers

“Brothers” has to be translated into Naro as “younger brothers and older brothers” (Tsáá qõea xu hẽé / naka tsáá kíí). All brothers are included this way, also because of the kind of plural that has been used. (Source: Gerrit van Steenbergen)

This also must be more clearly defined in Yucateco as older or younger (suku’un or Iits’in), but here there are both older and younger brothers. Yucateco does have a more general word for close relative, family member. (Source: Robert Bascom)

brother (older brother)

The Greek and Hebrew that is translated as “brother” in English is translated in Kwere as sekulu and in Mandarin Chinese as gēgē (哥哥), both “older brother.”

Note that Kwere also uses lumbu — “older sibling” in some cases. (Source for Kwere: Pioneer Bible Translators, project-specific translation notes in Paratext)

See also older brother (Japanese honorifics).

addressing someone respectfully in direct speech in Japanese

Like a number of other East Asian languages, Japanese uses a complex system of honorifics, i.e. a system where a number of different levels of politeness are expressed in language via words, word forms or grammatical constructs. These can range from addressing someone or referring to someone with contempt (very informal) to expressing the highest level of reference (as used in addressing or referring to God) or any number of levels in-between.

One way to do this is through the usage of appropriate suffix title referred to as keishō (敬称) as shown here in the widely-used Japanese Shinkaiyaku (新改訳) Bible of 2017 by either using -san or –sama with the latter being the more formal title.

This is evident in these verses in the Shinkaiyaku Bible from the form anata-sama (あなた様) “you” which is the combination of the nominal “you” anata and the suffix title –sama.

(Source: S. E. Doi, see also S. E. Doi in Journal of Translation, 18/2022, p. 37ff. )

second person pronoun with high register

Like a number of other East Asian languages, Japanese uses a complex system of honorifics, i.e. a system where a number of different levels of politeness are expressed in language via words, word forms or grammatical constructs. These can range from addressing someone or referring to someone with contempt (very informal) to expressing the highest level of reference (as used in addressing or referring to God) or any number of levels in-between.

One way Japanese show different degree of politeness is through the choice of a second person pronoun (“you” and its various forms) as shown here in the widely-used Japanese Shinkaiyaku (新改訳) Bible of 2017. The most commonly used anata (あなた) is typically used when the speaker is humbly addressing another person.

In these verses, however, the more venerable anata-sama (あなた様) is used, which combines anata with the with a formal title -sama.

(Source: S. E. Doi, see also S. E. Doi in Journal of Translation, 18/2022, p. 37ff. )

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 44:33)

Following are a number of back-translations as well as a sample translation for translators of Genesis 44:33:

  • Kankanaey: “Therefore if possible sir, I will be the one to take-the-place of my younger-sibling to-be-enslaved to you (sing.) so that he will have a way to go-home-with the rest of his siblings.” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Newari: “So here is my request — Keep me as your servant in place of him, and send him back along with his brothers.” (Source: Newari Back Translation)
  • Hiligaynon: “So, sir, I only (will-be) the-(one-who) will-remain here as your (sing.) slave in exchange/instead of him, and allow him to-go-home with his siblings/(brothers).” (Source: Hiligaynon Back Translation)
  • English: “‘o, please let me remain here as your slave instead of my youngest brother, and let the boy return home with his other older brothers.” (Source: Translation for Translators)

Translation commentary on Genesis 44:33

Judah makes his final appeal that he be allowed to take Benjamin’s place and remain as a slave. Judah’s willingness to take the place of Benjamin in order to spare Jacob’s life is clear evidence that a genuine change of heart has taken place. Joseph is about to be overcome again by emotion.

Now therefore, let your servant, I pray you … lord: for Now therefore see verse 30. Judah’s appeal expresses a consequence of all that he has said. “Therefore…,” “For these reasons…,” “Because of all I have said, I beg you, sir, to allow me to take the boy’s place and become your slave.”

Let the lad go back with his brothers: that is, “Let the boy go home with his brothers.”

Another way of translating Judah’s request is “Sir, I am prepared to stay here. I am prepared to take his place and be your slave. Please let him go back with my brothers.” In some languages it is more natural to make the request about Benjamin first: “Please let this boy go back with his brothers. I will take his place. I will be a prisoner and do all your hard work.”

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 .

imperatives (kudasai / Japanese honorifics)

Like a number of other East Asian languages, Japanese uses a complex system of honorifics, i.e. a system where a number of different levels of politeness are expressed in language via words, word forms or grammatical constructs. These can range from addressing someone or referring to someone with contempt (very informal) to expressing the highest level of reference (as used in addressing or referring to God) or any number of levels in-between.

One way Japanese show different degree of politeness is through the choice of an imperative construction as shown here in the widely-used Japanese Shinkaiyaku (新改訳) Bible of 2017.

In these verses, the honorific form kudasai (ください) reflects that the action is called for as a favor for the sake of the beneficiary. This polite kudasai imperative form is often translated as “please” in English. While English employs pure imperatives in most imperative constructions (“Do this!”), Japanese chooses the polite kudasai (“Do this, please.”).

(Source: S. E. Doi, see also S. E. Doi in Journal of Translation, 18/2022, p. 37ff. )