witness

The Hebrew and Greek that is translated as “witness” in English is translated as “truly have seen” in Highland Popoluca, as “telling the truth regarding something” (Eastern Highland Otomi), as “know something” in Lalana Chinantec, as “verily know something to be the truth” in San Mateo del Mar Huave, as “we ourselves saw this,” in Desano, as “tell the truth about something” in Eastern Highland Otomi, as “know something is true because of seeing it” in Teutila Cuicatec. (Source: Viola Waterhouse in Notes on Translation August 1966, p. 86ff.)

complete verse (Luke 11:48)

Following are a number of back-translations of Luke 11:48:

  • Nyongar: “This shows you are happy because of the things your ancestors have done. They killed the Prophets and you make their tombs.” (Source: Warda-Kwabba Luke-Ang)
  • Uma: “With your deeds, you confess/admit that you like the behavior of your ancestors. They killed the prophets of long ago, and you fix-up their graves.” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “You show that you agree with what your forefathers did. They killed the prophets and you make their graves nice.” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “Your ancestors are the ones who murdered them, and you are the ones who decorate the tombs. You do this as a sign that you really like the evil-doing of your ancestors.” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “But in your doing that, you show that you approve that-aforementioned-thing which your ancestors were-doing, because they are the ones who were-killing, but you in-turn are the ones making houses for the ones they killed.” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “In that which you are doing, you testify that you are in agreement/harmony with that which your ancestors did. Well, because they were the ones who killed the prophets, you are the ones who cause their graves to be elaborate.” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)

formal pronoun: Jesus addressing religious leaders

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 religious leaders with the formal pronoun, showing respect. Compare that with the typical address with the informal pronoun of the religious leaders.

The only two exceptions to this are Luke 7:40/43 and 10:26 where Jesus uses the informal pronoun as a response to the sycophantic use of the formal pronoun by the religious leaders (see formal pronoun: religious leaders addressing Jesus).

In most Dutch translations, the same distinctions are made, with the exception of Luke 10:26 where Jesus is using the formal pronoun. In Afrikaans and Western Frisian the informal pronoun is used throughout.