go vs. return

Kayaw has two main verbs of movement: lè for movement in a direction away from one’s home, and the ge for movement in a direction returning back to one’s home. So in Kayaw, you “go somewhere”, but you never “go home”, you only “return home”. Thus, in John 14:2-5, Jesus speaks of returning to his Father’s house in heaven, rather than going to his Father’s house in heaven. In verse 5 Thomas says that he and the other disciples don’t know where Jesus is returning, or the way that would enable them to go there (for them a new place, not their home). This use of return implies that Thomas is confused about both Jesus’ origin (coming down from his Father) and Jesus’ destination (returning to his Father). This fits well with verses 6-11 where Jesus uses Thomas’ confusion to expound on his relationship to the Father.

complete verse (John 14:3)

Following are a number of back-translations of John 14:3:

  • Uma: “When I finish preparing your dwelling-places, I will come back to get you, I will carry you going to my dwelling-place, so that where my dwelling-place is, you will be there with me.” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “Then when I have finished preparing your dwellings, I will come again to fetch you and I will bring you to my dwelling so that we (incl.) live together.” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “And when I go there to prepare a place for you to live in, I will come back for you and I will take you there to where I live, and then where I am there you will be also.” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “When your dwelling-places are then prepared, I will then return to go call you so that you will stay-with (me) where I am.” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “Well since it is true that I will go there and do what will cause you to be able to live there, it’s also true that I will indeed return here to cause you to go with me. Then we will all live there together.” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)
  • Tenango Otomi: “When I have gone to prepare a place for you to stay, I am going to come again to get you so that we will be together.” (Source: Tenango Otomi Back Translation)

formal pronoun: Jesus addressing his disciples and common people

Like many languages (but unlike Greek or Hebrew or English), Tuvan uses a formal vs. informal 2nd person pronoun (a familiar vs. a respectful “you”). Unlike other languages that have this feature, however, the translators of the Tuvan Bible have attempted to be very consistent in using the different forms of address in every case a 2nd person pronoun has to be used in the translation of the biblical text.

As Voinov shows in Pronominal Theology in Translating the Gospels (in: The Bible Translator 2002, p. 210ff.), the choice to use either of the pronouns many times involved theological judgment. While the formal pronoun can signal personal distance or a social/power distance between the speaker and addressee, the informal pronoun can indicate familiarity or social/power equality between speaker and addressee.

Here, Jesus is addressing his disciples, individuals and/or crowds with the formal pronoun, showing respect.

In most Dutch translations, Jesus addresses his disciples and common people with the informal pronoun, whereas they address him with the formal form.