bread, loaf

The Greek term that is translated in English as “bread” or “loaf” is translated in Chol as waj, the equivalent of a tortilla.

John Beekman (in The Bible Translator 1962, p. 180f.) explains: “The word ‘bread’ in Scripture primarily occurs as either a specific term for bread (including the Lord’s Supper), or as a generic term for food. It is not surprising, however, the some aboriginal groups use something other than bread as the staff of life. The Chols, with their cultural focus in the cultivation of corn, use waj, a type of thin corn flake. Since a meal is not complete without this main item of food, the term has been extended to include any other foods which may be served along with waj. While bread is known to them, its use is limited to a few occasions during the year when it functions as a dessert. In translating this term in the Chol New Testament, consistent use has been made of the word waj whenever the function of bread as a basic food was in focus. John 6:35, “I am the bread of life,” was thus translated with this word. If the word for bread had been used, it was feared that the Chol would compare Christ to the desirable, but not absolutely necessary, dessert.”

In Samo, it is translated as “Sago,” which serves “like ‘bread’ for the Hebrews, as a generic for food in the Samo language. It is a near-perfect metonymy that has all the semantic elements necessary for effective communication.” (Source: Daniel Shaw in: Scriptura 96/2007, p. 501ff.)

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

inclusive vs. exclusive pronoun (Matt. 6:11 / Luke 11:3)

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 God).

Source: Velma Pickett and Florence Cowan in Notes on Translation January 1962, p. 1ff.

This story of the translation of a new version of the Bible in Kwara’ae illustrates the importance and the problem of this, especially in this verse: “It is necessary to distinguish in Melanesian languages between the inclusive and exclusive first person plural pronoun. For example in, ‘We must go soon or we will lose the tide,’ ‘we’ here includes the persons addressed. But in, ‘Wait, and we will be with you soon,’ ‘we’ here excludes the persons addressed. Two different pronouns are used. Early missionaries, not knowing this, used the inclusive form in the Lord’s Prayer, ‘Forgive us our trespasses (yours and ours).’ This, of course, had to be corrected.” (Source: Norman Deck in The Bible Translator 1963, 34 ff.)