The Ghari translation uses different terms for “fishing”: with nets when fishing for fish and with a line when fishing for men. (Source: David Clark)
The translation for “fishing” (when referring to catching fish) in Ojitlán Chinantec is “catching water animals” and in Aguaruna “killing fish.” (Source: M. Larson / B. Moore in Notes on Translation February 1970, p. 1-125.)
Click or tap here to see a short video clip showing the different kinds of fishing with a net in biblical times (source: Bible Lands 2012)
See also cast a net.
The Greek that is translated “boat” or “ship” in English is translated in Chichimeca-Jonaz as “that with which we can walk on water” (source: Ronald D. Olson in Notes on Translation January, 1968, p. 15ff.) and in Kamwe as “water vehicle” (“people have never seen a large body of water, let alone a boat” — source: Roger Mohrlang in this article).
In Kouya it is translated as ‘glʋ ‘kadʋ — “big canoe.”
Philip Saunders (p. 231) explains how the Kouya team arrived at that conclusion:
“Acts chapter 27 was a challenge! It describes Paul’s sea voyage to Italy, and finally Rome. There is a storm at sea and a shipwreck on Malta, and the chapter includes much detailed nautical vocabulary. How do you translate this for a landlocked people group, most of whom have never seen the ocean? All they know are small rivers and dugout canoes.
“We knew that we could later insert some illustrations during the final paging process which would help the Kouya readers to picture what was happening, but meanwhile we struggled to find or invent meaningful terms. The ‘ship’ was a ‘big canoe’ and the ‘passengers’ were ‘the people in the big canoe’; the ‘crew’ were the ‘workers in the big canoe’; the ‘pilot’ was the ‘driver of the big canoe’; the ‘big canoe stopping place’ was the ‘harbour’, and the ‘big canoe stopping metal’ was the ‘anchor’!”
See also harbor, anchor, and sailor.
Many languages distinguish between inclusive and exclusive first-person plural pronouns (“we”). The inclusive “we” specifically includes the addressee (“you and I and possibly others”), while the exclusive “we” specifically excludes the addressee (“he/she/they and I, but not you”). This grammatical distinction is called “clusivity.” While Semitic languages such as Hebrew or most Indo-European languages such as Greek or English do not make that distinction, translators of languages with that distinction have to make a choice every time they encounter “we” or a form thereof (in English: “we,” “our,” or “us”).
For this verse, translators typically select the exclusive form (excluding Peter).
Source: Velma Pickett and Florence Cowan in Notes on Translation January 1962, p. 1ff.
Following are a number of back-translations of John 21:3:
- Uma: “Simon Petrus said to his companions: ‘I am going fishing.’ His companions said: ‘We(excl.) will go too.’ They really went riding the boat and they went fishing-with-nets in the lake. But all that night, they did not catch a single fish.” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
- Yakan: “Simon Petros said, ‘I am going fishing.’ ‘We (excl.) will come along,’ said the others. So-then they went and rode in the boat. But that night they did not catch any fish.” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
- Western Bukidnon Manobo: “And Peter said, ‘I am going to net fish.’ And his companions said, ‘We’ll go with you. And they went out in a boat and they netted there the whole night but they couldn’t catch anything.” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
- Kankanaey: “Simon Pedro said to his companions, ‘I’m going net-fishing.’ ‘Let’s go then,’ they said. And they went and got-in a boat. But even though they worked-through the night net-fishing, they caught absolutely nothing.” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
- Tagbanwa: “Simon Pedro said to them, ‘I’m going to go fishing.”If it’s like that,’ they said, ‘we’ll(excl.) go along with you.’ So they set out. When they arrived, they sailed. But well, till dawn they hadn’t caught any, not even one.” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)
- Tenango Otomi: “Peter said to his companions, ‘I am going to fish now.’ Those he spoke to said, ‘We also will go with you then.’ They got into a boat and went. But that night they didn’t find any fish.” (Source: Tenango Otomi Back Translation)