sin

The Hebrew and Greek that is typically translated as “sin” in English has a wide variety of translations.

The Greek ἁμαρτάνω (hamartanō) carries the original verbatim meaning of “miss the mark.” Likewise, many translations contain the “connotation of moral responsibility.” Loma has (for certain types of sin) “leaving the road” (which “implies a definite standard, the transgression of which is sin”) or Navajo uses “that which is off to the side.” (Source: Bratcher / Nida). In Toraja-Sa’dan the translation is kasalan, which originally meant “transgression of a religious or moral rule” and has shifted its meaning in the context of the Bible to “transgression of God’s commandments.” (Source: H. van der Veen in The Bible Translator 1950, p. 21 ff.).

In Shipibo-Conibo the term is hocha. Nida (1952, p. 149) tells the story of its choosing:

“In some instances a native expression for sin includes many connotations, and its full meaning must be completely understood before one ever attempts to use it. This was true, for example, of the term hocha first proposed by Shipibo-Conibo natives as an equivalent for ‘sin.’ The term seemed quite all right until one day the translator heard a girl say after having broken a little pottery jar that she was guilty of ‘hocha.’ Breaking such a little jar scarcely seemed to be sin. However, the Shipibos insisted that hocha was really sin, and they explained more fully the meaning of the word. It could be used of breaking a jar, but only if the jar belonged to someone else. Hocha was nothing more nor less than destroying the possessions of another, but the meaning did not stop with purely material possessions. In their belief God owns the world and all that is in it. Anyone who destroys the work and plan of God is guilty of hocha. Hence the murderer is of all men most guilty of hocha, for he has destroyed God’s most important possession in the world, namely, man. Any destructive and malevolent spirit is hocha, for it is antagonistic and harmful to God’s creation. Rather than being a feeble word for some accidental event, this word for sin turned out to be exceedingly rich in meaning and laid a foundation for the full presentation of the redemptive act of God.”

In Kaingang, the translation is “break God’s word” and in Sandawe the original meaning of the Greek term (see above) is perfectly reflected with “miss the mark.” (Source: Ursula Wiesemann in Holzhausen / Riderer 2010, p. 36ff., 43)

See also sinner.

complete verse (James 2:9)

Following are a number of back-translations of James 2:9:

  • Uma: “But if we make-differences-between people according to their lives or their appearance, we are sinning, relatives. It is certain that we are sinning, for it is the Lord’s Law that we are breaking there.” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “But if you make a difference between people because of their appearance, you have sinned already and you will be hit by judgment because you have broken the law.” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “But when you show favoritism to the rich, and you look down on the poor, you sin. And according to what was written in the Law of God Moses left behind, you are transgressors.” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “But if you don’t make-your thoughts -the-same toward your fellows but rather you prefer/favor the one who has status, you sin because of course you have broken that-aforementioned law of God.” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “But if only the rich are being honored/respected by you and the poor are being insulted/belittled by you, that is indeed your sin. Well, as for this law which you have broken, it testifies that you are now sinful.” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)
  • Tenango Otomi: “But if you are choosing which people you show love to, then you are committing sin. Because you are rejecting what God’s law says then.” (Source: Tenango Otomi Back Translation)

law

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.)
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