The Greek that is translated in English “housetops” or similar in English is translated in Central Mazahua as “where you meet your fellowmen,” in Sranan Tongo as “street corners,” and in Batak Toba as “the place under the tree” (i.e. a place outside the village, where people gather to discuss public matters.) (Source: Reiling / Swellengrebel)

In Enlhet, “shouting from the housetops” “does not mean ‘a public announcement’ but rather ‘an omen announcing an evil spirit attack upon the village.’ The public announcement is expressed with a different form to announce in front of the house.” (Source: Jacob Loewen in The Bible Translator 1971, p. 169ff. )

complete verse (Luke 12:3)

Following are a number of back-translations of Luke 12:3:

  • Nyongar: “Because what you say in the dark of night will be heard in the light of day, and words you whisper (lit.: “silent talk”) in a secret place will be shouted from the top of the house.'” (Source: Warda-Kwabba Luke-Ang)
  • Uma: “So, what you say in the night will definitely be exposed in the daytime. And what you whisper to friends/companions in a locked house, will definitely be announced all through the town.” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “Whatever you tell at night, will be heard when it is day. Whatever you whisper in the room, will be spread to the people in the market.” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “Everything which you whisper at night will be heard in the day time, and anything that you say in secret in your room, it will be known by the many people in the market.” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “So even anything that you have said at night will become known in the day, and what you have been whispering in a room with closed-door will be shouted so the many-people will hear.'” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “For whatever you say in the dark, it’s like it’s being received/reached-out-for(fig.) in the light-place. What you whisper inside will be shouted out to the 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.