parable of the prodigal son (image)

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Image taken from the Wiedmann Bible. For more information about the images and ways to adopt them, see here .

For other images of Willy Wiedmann paintings in TIPs, see here.


The Greek that is often translated as “lost” in English is translated in Mairasi as “their faces lengthened.” (Source: Enggavoter 2004)

happiness / joy

The Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek that is typically translated in English as “joy” or “happiness” is translated in the Hausa Common Language Bible idiomatically as farin ciki or “white stomach.” In some cases, such as in Genesis 29:11, it is also added for emphatic purposes.

Other languages that use the same expression include Southern Birifor (pʋpɛl), Dera (popolok awo), Reshe (ɾipo ɾipuhã). (Source: Andy Warren-Rothlin)

See also Seat of the Mind / Seat of Emotions, rejoiced greatly / celebrated, the Mossi translation of “righteous”, and joy.

complete verse (Luke 15:32)

Following are a number of back-translations of Luke 15:32:

  • Noongar: “But we must eat and drink and be happy because your brother was dead and now he is alive; he was lost and now he is found.”” (Source: Warda-Kwabba Luke-Ang)
  • Uma: “But it is very appropriate that we have a joyful feast, because your younger-sibling who was dead, lives again. He was lost, but we have found him again.’ ‘” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “It is fitting for us (dual) to celebrate and to be glad, for that your younger brother was like dead and lives again. He was like lost and has come home.’ ‘” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “But we (incl.) cannot stifle our joy because as for this younger brother of yours, he was just like someone who was dead; and today he is alive again. He was lost, but today he is found.’ ‘” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “But it is emphatically necessary that we make-merry, because this younger-sibling of yours (sing.) who was like dead, here he is surprisingly-enough alive. He was lost but here he has arrived.’ ‘” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “But today, of course we (incl.) must celebrate for as for this brother of yours, he was as-it-were dead but it’s like he has indeed come alive again. Also it’s like he was lost but has been found.”” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)

second person pronoun with low register

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 Japanese show different degree of politeness is through the choice of a second person pronoun (“you” and its various forms) as shown here in the widely-used Japanese Shinkaiyaku (新改訳) Bible of 2017. The most commonly used anata (あなた) is typically used when the speaker is humbly addressing another person.

In these verses, however, omae (おまえ) is used, a cruder second person pronoun, that Jesus for instance chooses when chiding his disciples.

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

See also first person pronoun with low register and third person pronoun with low register.

Translation commentary on Luke 15:32


euphranthēnai de kai charēnai edei ‘but we had to enjoy ourselves and to be glad,’ with hēmas ‘we’ (i.e. ‘we in the house’) understood; the clause refers to the inner compulsion which the coming home of the younger son caused. euphranthēnai refers to external celebration, charēnai to inner feeling.

ho adelphos sou houtos ‘your brother here,’ echoes ho huios sou houtos in v. 30, and implicitly criticizes the note of contempt in those words.

ezēsen ‘he began to live again,’ synonymous with anezēsen in v. 24.

apolōlōs ‘(he was) lost,’ with ēn understood.


It was fitting to, or, “but we had to” (The Four Gospels – a New Translation, Good News Translation), ‘how would it have been possible not to,’ the personal pronoun to be taken as exclusive, where that distinction is obligatory.

Be glad, or, ‘rejoice,’ see 1.14.

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.