The Greek term that is translated as a form of “save” in English is translated in Shipibo-Conibo with a phrase that means literally “make to live,” which combines the meaning of “to rescue” and “to deliver from danger,” but also the concept of “to heal” or “restore to health.”
In San Blas Kuna it is rendered as “help the heart,” in Laka, it is “take by the hand” in the meaning of “rescue” or “deliver,” in Huautla Mazatec the back-translation of the employed term is “lift out on behalf of,” in Anuak, it is “have life because of,” in Central Mazahua “be healed in the heart,” in Baoulé “save one’s head” (meaning to rescue a person in the fullest sense), in Guerrero Amuzgo “come out well,” in Northwestern Dinka “be helped as to his breath” (or “life”) (source: Bratcher / Nida), and in Nyongar barrang-ngandabat or “hold life” (source: Warda-Kwabba Luke-Ang).
In South Bolivian Quechua it is “make to escape” and in Highland Puebla Nahuatl, it is “cause people to come out with the aid of the hand.” (Source: Nida 1947, p. 222.)
See also salvation.
The Greek that is often rendered in English as “to be converted” or “to turn around” is (back-) translated in a number of ways:
- North Alaskan Inupiatun: “change completely”
- Purepecha: “turn around”
- Highland Totonac: “have one’s life changed”
- Huautla Mazatec: “make pass over bounds within”
- San Blas Kuna: “turn the heart toward God”
- Chol: “the heart turns itself back”
- Highland Puebla Nahuatl: “self-heart change”
- Pamona: “turn away from, unlearn something”
- Tepeuxila Cuicatec: “turn around from the breast”
- Luvale: “return”
- Balinese: “put on a new behavior” (compare “repentance“: “to put on a new mind”)
- Tzeltal: “cause one’s heart to return to God” (compare “repentance”: “to cause one’s heart to return because of one’s sin”)
- Pedi: “retrace one’s step” (compare “repentance”: “to become untwisted”)
- Uab Meto: “return” (compare “repentance”: “to turn the heart upside down”)
- Northwestern Dinka: “turn oneself” (compare “repentance”: “to turn the heart”) (source for this and all above: Bratcher / Nida)
- Central Mazahua: “change the heart” (compare “repentance”: “turn back the heart”) (source: Nida 1952, p. 40)
- Western Kanjobal: “molt” (like a butterfly) (source: Nida 1952, p. 136)
- Latvian: atgriezties (verb) / atgriešanās (noun) (“turn around / return”) which is also the same term being used for “repentance” (source: Katie Roth)
- Isthmus Mixe: “look away from the teaching of one’s ancestors and follow the teachings of God”
- Highland Popoluca: “leave one’s old beliefs to believe in Jesus” (source for thsi and above: Viola Waterhouse in Notes on Translation August 1966, p. 86ff.)
The Greek that is translated as “sinner” in English is translated as “people with bad hearts” (“it is not enough to call them ‘people who do bad things,’ for though actions do reflect the heart, yet it is the hearts with which God is primarily concerned — see Matt. 15:19”) in Western Kanjobal, “people who are doing wrong things in their hearts” in San Blas Kuna (source: Nida 1952, p. 148), “people with bad stomachs” in Q’anjob’al (source: Newberry and Kittie Cox in The Bible Translator 1950, p. 91ff.), or “people with dirty hearts” (Mairasi) (Enggavoter 2004).
In Central Mazahua and Teutila Cuicatec it is translated as “(person who) owes sin.” (Source: Waterhouse / Parrott in Notes on Translation October 1967, p. 1ff.)
The Greek that is typically translated with a generic expressions such as “he who,” “whoever,” or “if anyone” in English is translated with the plural form (“they”) in Daga. “A literal translation of these conveys the idea that one specific unnamed individual is being dis cussed. Thus, for instance, in John 5:24 ‘he who hears my word and believes in him who sent me has eternal life’ meant in Daga that there was one fortunate individual to whom it applied.”
See also love your neighbor as yourself.
Following are a number of back-translations of James 5:20:
- Uma: “For the person who brings a sinner back from his wrong actions has lifted him from eternal disaster, and his many sins are forgiven.” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
- Yakan: “You ought really to know that whoever persuades a sinner so that he leaves/gives-up his faulty/mistaken deeds, he really saves the soul of that sinner so that he doesn’t go to hell, and his many sins are already forgiven. Wassalam” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
- Western Bukidnon Manobo: “remember that he who helps him has made a way for him to be freed from punishment. And by means of that, the very many sins of that person can be forgiven.” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
- Kankanaey: “large (appreciative particle) is his help to that sinner, because that is how-he-will-be-saved so he will not be separated from God, and furthermore his many sins, they will be forgiven.” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
- Tagbanwa: “For this is what you are to consider. Whoever can cause to return a sinner who has been led astay from the truth, it’s clear that he will cause that person to be saved from death which is unending punishment, and all of his sin will be forgiven.” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)
- Tenango Otomi: “You must know that whoever changes the heart of his fellowman so that he will depart from the evil in which he lives, has then saved the person who would have had to be punished, and all the sins which he had committed would be forgiven.” (Source: Tenango Otomi Back Translation)
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)
In Warao it is translated as “bad obojona.” Obojona is a term that “includes the concepts of consciousness, will, attitude, attention and a few other miscellaneous notions.” (Source: Henry Osborn in The Bible Translator 1969, p. 74ff.). See other occurrences of Obojona in the Warao New Testament.
See also sinner.