Lord's Prayer

The “Lord’s Prayer” was translated into Nyulnyul (and back-translated into English) by the German missionary Hermann Nekes in 1939.

It reads:

Our Father on top sky.
Thy name be feared.
Thou art our boss.
Men-women will listen to Thee this place earth
as the good souls of men-women listen to Thee on top sky.
Give us tucker till this sun goes down.
We did wrong; make us good.
We have good hearts to them who did us wrong.
Watch us against bad place.
Thy hands be stretched out to guard us from bad.

Source

your kingdom come

The Greek that is translated in English as “your kingdom come” is translated in Auslan (Australian Sign Language) as “the time will come when God is boss.”

John Harris (in The Bible Translator 2008, p. 100ff.) tells the genesis of this phrase: “An interesting Australian example is the phrase ‘your kingdom come,’ a well-known but incomprehensible signed passage in the Lord’s Prayer as widely used by professional signers interpreting at churches, weddings, funerals and public events. The closest back-translation of their usual signing was ‘the place (area sign) of your king (crown sign) will come.’ Having studied Luke 11:2 with the consultant, the Auslan translators came to understand the phrase as referring to the coming rule of God. They developed a new set of signs back-translated as ‘the time will come when God is boss.’ This phrase is now being picked up by the professional signers.”

kingdom (of God / heaven) (God's finalized creation in the future)

In the German Gute Nachricht (Good News) translation of 1982, this occurrence of the Greek term which is translated in most English versions of “kingdom (of God or heaven)” is translated with a form of “once God finalizes his creation (or “work”) . . . ” (Wenn Gott sein Werk vollendet . . .). For an explanation of the differentiated translation in German as well as translation choices in a number of languages, see Kingdom (of God / heaven).

pray

The Greek that is translated as a form of “pray” in English is often translated as “talking with God” (Central Pame, Tzeltal, Chol, Chimborazo Highland Quichua, Shipibo-Conibo, Kaqchikel, Tepeuxila Cuicatec, Copainalá Zoque, Central Tarahumara).

Other solutions include:

  • “to beg” or “to ask,” (full expression: “to ask with one’s heart coming out,” which leaves out selfish praying, for asking with the heart out leaves no place for self to hide) (Tzotzil)
  • “to cause God to know” (Huichol)
  • “to raise up one’s words to God” (implying an element of worship, as well as communication) (Miskito, Lacandon) (Source of this and all above: Bratcher / Nida)
  • Shilluk: “speak to God” (source: Nida 1964, p. 237)
  • Mairasi: “talk together with Great Above One (=God)” (source: Enggavoter, 2004)
  • San Blas Kuna: “call to one’s Father” (source: Claudio and Marvel Iglesias in The Bible Translator 1951, p. 85ff.)
  • Ik: waan: “beg.” Terrill Schrock (in Wycliffe Bible Translators 2016, p. 93) explains (click or tap here to read more):

    What do begging and praying have to do with each other? Do you beg when you pray? Do I?

    “The Ik word for ‘visitor’ is waanam, which means ‘begging person.’ Do you beg when you go visiting? The Ik do. Maybe you don’t beg, but maybe when you visit someone, you are looking for something. Maybe it’s just a listening ear.

    When the Ik hear that [my wife] Amber and I are planning trip to this or that place for a certain amount of time, the letters and lists start coming. As the days dwindle before our departure, the little stack of guests grows. ‘Please, sir, remember me for the allowing: shoes, jacket (rainproof), watch, box, trousers, pens, and money for the children. Thank you, sir, for your assistance.’

    “A few people come by just to greet us or spend bit of time with us. Another precious few will occasionally confide in us about their problems without asking for anything more than a listening ear. I love that.

    “The other day I was in our spare bedroom praying my list of requests to God — a nice list covering most areas of my life, certainly all the points of anxiety. Then it hit me: Does God want my list, or does he want my relationship?

    “I decided to try something. Instead of reading off my list of requests to God, I just talk to him about my issues without any expectation of how he should respond. I make it more about our relationship than my list, because if our personhood is like God’s personhood, then maybe God prefers our confidence and time to our lists, letters, and enumerations.”

In Luang it is translated with different shades of meaning (click or tap here to read more):

  • For Acts 1:14, 20:36, 21:5: kola ttieru-yawur nehla — “hold the waist and hug the neck.” (“This is the more general term for prayer and often refers to worship in prayer as opposed to petition. The Luang people spend the majority of their prayers worshiping rather than petitioning, which explains why this term often is used generically for prayer.”)
  • For Acts 1:14, 28:9: sumbiani — “pray.” (“This term is also used generically for ‘prayer’. When praying is referred to several times in close proximity, it serves as a variation for kola ttieru-yawur nehla, in keeping with Luang discourse style. It is also used when a prayer is made up of many requests.”)
  • For Acts 8:15, 12:5: polu-waka — “call-ask.” (“This is a term for petition that is used especially when the need is very intense.”)

Source: Kathy Taber in Notes on Translation 1/1999, p. 9-16.

complete verse (Luke 11:2)

Following are a number of back-translations of Luke 11:2:

  • Uma: “Yesus said saying to them: ‘When you pray, say like this: Father, our (excl.) request [is] that all people honor your (s)holy name, so that You(s) become King in the world.” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “Isa answered, he said, ‘When you pray it should be like this. Say: ‘O, Father, may your name be honored by all mankind. May it not be long (until) you rule over all mankind.” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “And Jesus said, ‘This is what you should imitate when you pray. You say, ‘Our Father there in Heaven, may mankind respect your name. May you rule over mankind.” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “Jesus said to them, ‘When you pray, this is what you are to say: ‘Father, may your (singular) holy name be praised/honored. May your (singular) ruling arrive on the earth.” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “Jesus replied saying, ‘Well, like this would be good for you to pray. ‘Father, your name is to be praised and acknowledged as very-far-from-ordinary. We request that it will soon come when you are now ruling over all people.” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)

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.