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, the crowd and Pilate address each other with the formal, respectful pronoun.
Following are a number of back-translations of John 19:14:
- Uma: “At that time, it was nearly mid-day, the preparation day at the time of the Paskah feast. Pilatus said to the Yahudi people: ‘There is your king!'” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
- Yakan: “That day was the day for preparation for the Festival For-Remembering and it was almost noon. So-then when Pilatus was sitting, he said to the people, ‘Look, here is your king.'” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
- Western Bukidnon Manobo: “It was then noon on the day which was the day when they prepared for the Feast of Passing By. And then Pilate said to the Jews, ‘Here is your king!'” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
- Kankanaey: “Upon his-sitting-down there, it was almost twelve o’clock on that-same day on which the Jews prepared for the fiesta. Pilato said to the Jews, ‘Here is your king.'” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
- Tagbanwa: “It was now the day called Preparing, which was the first day of that Fiesta of Passed-by. It was now 6 o’clock in the morning. Said Pilato to those Judio, ‘Here now is your King!'” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)
- Tenango Otomi: “It was about six in the morning. It was the day the people got prepared for the rest day. It was also still during the celebration of the Passover. Pilate said to the Jews, ‘Here is your ruler.'” (Source: Tenango Otomi Back Translation)