The Greek and Hebrew that is translated with “joy” or “gladness” in English is translated with various associations of “sweetness” or taste: Bambara has “the spirit is made sweet,” Kpelle translates as “sweet heart,” and Tzeltal as “the good taste of one’s heart,” Uduk uses the phrase “good to the stomach,” Baoulé “a song in the stomach,” Mískito “the liver is wide open” (“happily letting the pleasures flooding in upon it”) (source: Nida 1952), Mairasi says “good liver” (source: Enggavoter 2004), Nyongar has koort-kwabba-djil or “heart very good” (source: Warda-Kwabba Luke-Ang), and Chicahuaxtla Triqui “refreshed heart” (source: Waterhouse / Parrott in Notes on Translation October 1967, p. 1ff.).

See also Seat of the Mind for traditional views of “ways of knowing, thinking, and feeling” and exceeding joy.

complete verse (John 16:24)

Following are a number of back-translations of John 16:24:

  • Uma: “Until now, you have not asked for anything with my name. Just ask, you will receive it, so that your joy is complete.'” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “From the beginning till now you have not asked/requested because of your trust in me. Ask/request and you will be given so that your joy will be complete.'” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “There is nothing yet which you have asked from him which comes from your believing me. Ask so that you might receive so that you might greatly rejoice.” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “Until now, you haven’t been requesting anything on-account-of your aforementioned unity-with me. Now however, repeatedly-request so that you will be given so that you will be thoroughly made-happy.” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “Till now, there’s nothing yet you are asking for on the strength of your being tied-together/united with me. Make your request. It’s certain it will be given to you and therein you will be really happy.” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)
  • Tenango Otomi: “Until now you have not yet asked God to give you something because you believe in me. Ask now in order that it will be given you. And you really will be given joy.” (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.