John as a first-person evangelist (John 4:3)

In the Yatzachi Zapotec translation of the Gospel of John, any reference to the evangelist and presumed narrator is done in the first person.

The translator Inez Butler explains (in: Notes on Translation, September 1967, pp. 10ff.):

“In revising the Gospel of John in Yatzachi Zapotec we realized from the start that the third person references of Jesus to himself as Son of Man had to be converted into first person references, but only more recently have we decided that similar change is necessary in John’s references to himself as ‘the disciple whom Jesus loved.’ As I worked on those changes and questioned the informant about his understanding of other passages in the Gospel, I discovered that the reader misses the whole focus of the book as an eyewitness account unless every reference to the disciples indicates the writer’s membership in the group. In view of that we went back through the entire book looking for ways to cue in the reader to the fact that John was an eyewitness and a participant in a many of the events, as well as the historian.

“When the disciples were participants in events along with Jesus, it was necessary to make explicit the fact that they accompanied him, although in the source language that is left implicit, since otherwise our rendering would imply that they were not present.”

In this verse, the Yatzachi Zapotec says: “And since Jesus knew that the Pharisees had realized that more people were following him, we left the district of Judea and we returned to the district of Galilee.”

complete verse (John 4:3)

Following are a number of back-translations of John 4:3:

  • Uma: “So, when Yesus knew that the Parisi people had heard that news, he went out from Yudea land returning to Galilea land.” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “When Isa knew about this talk, he left with his disciples from Yahudiya returning to the place Jalil.” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “The Pharisees heard the news that Jesus was making more disciples and Jesus was baptizing more people than John was; however Jesus himself wasn’t baptizing, but it was his disciples. And when Jesus also heard this news he left the province of Judea and he returned to the province of Galilee.” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “When plural Jesus came-to-know that that’s what the Pharisees had heard-reported, they left Judea in order to return to Galilea.” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “When Jesus knew that, he left Judea. He and his disciples went home to Galilea.” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)
  • Tenango Otomi: “Knowing that it was known what he was doing, Jesus left Judea to go to Galilee.” (Source: Tenango Otomi Back Translation)