The Greek that is translated into English as “crucify” is translated into Naro with xgàu which literally means “to stretch” as is done with a skin after slaughtering in order to dry it. The word is also widely accepted in the churches. (Source: Gerrit van Steenbergen)

Similarly, Balinese and Toraja-Sa’dan also translate as “stretch him” (Source: Reiling / Swellengrebel) and in Rendille as lakakaaha — “stretched and nailed down” (source: Holzhausen / Riderer 2010, p. 33).

In Ghari it becomes “hammer to the cross” (source: David Clark), in Loma “fasten him to a spread-back-stick” (source: Bratcher / Nida), in Sundanese “hang him on a crossbeam” (source: Reiling / Swellengrebel), in Aguaruna “fasten him to the tree,” in Navajo “nail him to the cross”, in Yatzachi Zapotec “fasten him to the cross” (source for this and two above (source for this and above: M. Larson / B. Moore in Notes on Translation February 1970, p. 1-125.), and in Apali the different aspects of the crucifixion have to be spelled out: “nail to a tree piece put cross-wise, lift up to stand upright (for the crucified person) to die (and in some contexts: to die and rise again)” (source: Martha Wade).

Click or tap here to see a short video clip showing how crucifixion was done in biblical times (source: Bible Lands 2012)

See also cross.

formal pronoun: Jesus and Pilate

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, Pilate is addressing Jesus with an informal pronoun and Jesus Pilate with the formal, respectful form.

Voinov explains: “Pilate, as governor of Judea, would consider himself superior to Jesus, a carpenter and itinerant teacher, on the power hierarchy. This is especially visible when Pilate reminds Jesus that he is the one who decides whether Jesus lives or dies. An informal pronoun is appropriate in Tuvan to render this attitude. The more difficult question concerns the form Jesus should use in responding to Pilate. On the one hand, it can be argued from passages such as John 18:33-37 and 19:11 that Jesus did not accept Pilate’s authority. There Jesus affirms himself as king and lets Pilate know that Pilate’s authority is subordinate to God. On the other hand, it seems likely that Jesus would show due respect to the authorities, not out of fear for his life, but rather because this constituted a part of the Jewish concept of righteousness. (…) One potential problem with this solution is that readers may think that Jesus is trying to curry the favor of these powerful people in order to save himself. Before making a final decision the Tuvan translators did comprehension testing concerning this point. None of the readers interpreted Jesus’ use of the informal pronoun in this way, but rather said that Jesus was showing respect appropriate to the position of his addressee.”

In Dutch translations, the formal address is used by both.

complete verse (John 19:10)

Following are a number of back-translations of John 19:10:

  • Uma: “Pilatus also said: ‘Do you(s) refuse to answer me? Don’t you(s) know, I have the authority to free you(s) or to crucify you(s)!'” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “Pilatus said to him, ‘Why don’t you answer? Do you not know that I have authority to free you? And I also have authority to nail you on the post so that you die.'” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “Pilate said again, ‘Why don’t you talk? Don’t you know that my power is great? I can set you free and I can also command that you be nailed to the cross.'” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “Whereupon Pilato said, ‘You (singular) don’t answer-me? Don’t you know perhaps that I have authority to release you (singular) or to have-you (singular) -nailed to the cross?'” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “Pilato next said, ‘Why aren’t you answering me? Don’t you know that I have authority, I could make you to be freed or to be nailed to a cross?'” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)
  • Tenango Otomi: “Pilate said to him, ‘So you don’t want to answer when I speak to you. Don’t you know that I have authority to put you on the cross? I also have authority to release you.'” (Source: Tenango Otomi Back Translation)