command (Japanese honorifics)

Like a number of other East Asian languages, Japanese uses a complex system of honorifics, i.e. a system where a number of different levels of politeness are expressed in language via words, word forms or grammatical constructs. These can range from addressing someone or referring to someone with contempt (very informal) to expressing the highest level of reference (as used in addressing or referring to God) or any number of levels in-between.

One way to do this is through the usage (or a lack) of an honorific prefix as shown here in the widely-used Japanese Shinkaiyaku (新改訳) Bible of 2017.

In these verses, the Hebrew and Greek that is translated as “command” or “commandment” in English is translated in the Shinkaiyaku Bible as o-meiji (お命じ), combining “command” (meiji) with the respectful prefix o-.

(Source: S. E. Doi, see also S. E. Doi in Journal of Translation, 18/2022, p. 37ff. )

complete verse (Luke 14:22)

Following are a number of back-translations of Luke 14:22:

  • Noongar: “The servant soon came back and he said, ‘Boss, I have done what you said. But your house is not full.'” (Source: Warda-Kwabba Luke-Ang)
  • Uma: “‘When he arrived back, he said saying to the owner of the feast: ‘Father, I carried-out [lit., caused-to-walk] your (sing.) commands, but your (sing.) house is not full, there are still chairs/seats.'” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “Not long after that, his servant came back and said to his master, ‘I have done what you commanded, Sir, but there is still room.'” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “And when the servant returned, he said to his master, ‘The people you sent me to are arriving, and yet your house is still not full.'” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “And he went. A while later, he went and said to his master, ‘Sir, I have obeyed what you (sing.) commanded, but there is still room for others.'” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “When that messenger returned, he said, ‘Master, I did what you told me to do, but the eating-place indeed still has room/space.'” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)

master (Japanese honorifics)

Like a number of other East Asian languages, Japanese uses a complex system of honorifics, i.e. a system where a number of different levels of politeness are expressed in language via words, word forms or grammatical constructs. These can range from addressing someone or referring to someone with contempt (very informal) to expressing the highest level of reference (as used in addressing or referring to God) or any number of levels in-between.

One way to do this is through the usage of appropriate suffix title referred to as keishō (敬称) as shown here in the widely-used Japanese Shinkaiyaku (新改訳) Bible of 2017 by either using -san or –sama with the latter being the more formal title.

These titles are distinct from nominal titles such as “master.” This is evident from the forms such as go-shujin-sama (ご主人様) “master” or “lord” which is the combination of the nominal title shujin “master,” the honorific prefix go- and the suffix title –sama.

In some cases, it can also be used as go-shujin (ご主人), i.e. with the honorific prefix go- but without the suffix title –sama. You can find that in Genesis 19:2, 23:6, 23:11, 23:15, 24:51, 32:18, 39:8, 39:9, 44:8, 44:9; 1 Samuel 25:17; and 2 Kings 2:16 and 4:26.

(Source: S. E. Doi, see also S. E. Doi in Journal of Translation, 18/2022, p. 37ff. )

formal 2nd person pronoun (Spanish)

Like many languages (but unlike Greek or Hebrew or English), Spanish uses a formal vs. informal second-person pronoun (a familiar vs. a respectful “you”). Spanish Bibles all use only the informal second-person pronoun (), with the exception of Dios Habla Hoy (third edition: 1996) which also uses the formal pronoun (usted). In the referenced verses, the formal form is used.

Sources and for more information: P. Ellingworth in The Bible Translator 2002, p. 143ff. and R. Ross in The Bible Translator 1993, p. 217ff.

See also the use of the formal vs. the informal pronoun in the Gospels in Tuvan.

Translation commentary on Luke 14:22

Exegesis:

kurie, gegonen ho epetaxas ‘master, what you ordered has been done.’ This assumes tacitly that there is an interval in time between v. 21 and v. 22 in which the master’s orders are carried out. For kurios cf. on 1.6; for epitassō cf. on 4.36.

kai eti topos estin ‘and still there is room,’ scil. for more people. For topos cf. on v. 9.

Translation:

When one does not clearly indicate an interval between v. 21 and v. 22 the latter may easily be taken to mean that the servant had already gone out to the streets, anticipating his master’s orders, an impression actually made in some versions. To avoid this one may have to use a transitional word or phrase, e.g. ‘when (he was) back’ (Bahasa Indonesia RC), ‘after a while’ (Shona 1966, similarly Kituba, Good News Translation), ‘after that’ (Balinese); or to make the command more specific, as in ‘the things you have sent me to do I have done’ (Sranan Tongo); or, again, to change the sentence structure, cf. “reporting to him that these orders had been carried out, ‘Sir,’ said the servant, ‘there is still room for more’ ” (The Four Gospels – a New Translation).

And still there is room, or “and there are still empty places” (Phillips), ‘but the room/house is not yet full.’

Quoted with permission from Reiling, J. and Swellengrebel, J.L. A Handbook on the Gospel of Luke. (UBS Handbook Series). New York: UBS, 1971. For this and other handbooks for translators see here . Make sure to also consult the Handbook on the Gospel of Mark for parallel or similar verses.