complete verse (John 8:23)

Following are a number of back-translations of John 8:23:

  • Uma: “Yesus said to them: ‘You are from below, / the-low-place I am from above / the-high-place. You are from this world, I am not from this world.” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “Isa also said, ‘You are people of the world but I, my place is heaven. All your thoughts are just from the world, but my thoughts are not.” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “And Jesus said again, ‘You are citizens here on earth, but as for me, I am a citizen there in heaven. You originate here on the earth, but as for me, I originate there above.” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “Jesus then said, ‘As for you, you came-from this world and your minds/thoughts are worldly. I by-contrast, I came-from heaven, so my mind/thoughts are different/distinct.” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “Jesus said further, ‘As for you, you are of the earth. As for me, I am of the heavens. You belong to this world. I don’t. Therefore what is in our minds/inner-beings isn’t the same.” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)
  • Tenango Otomi: “Again Jesus spoke, ‘You are natives here in this world. But I am not a native here in this world. (…)” (Source: Tenango Otomi Back Translation)
  • Yatzachi Zapotec: “(…) You are heeding the devil, who rules this earth; and I am heeding God, who is in heaven. (…)” (Source: John Beekman in Notes on Translation 12, November 1964, p. 1ff.)

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.