The Greek that is often translated as “Were not our hearts burning within us?” is translated as “a boiling comes to our hearts inside” in Marathi (an idiom for joy and enthusiasm), “drawn, as it were, our mind” in Balinese, “hurt (i.e. longing) our hearts” in Ekari, or “something was-consuming in our-heart” in Tae’ (an idiom for “we were profoundly moved”). (Source: Reiling / Swellengrebel)
In an early version of the Bible in Sranan Tongo, the translation was Ke, hoe switi kouroe wi hatti be fili: “O, how sweet coolness did our hearts feel.” The translator “did this to avoid misunderstanding. In Sranan Tongo, when one says ‘my heart is burning’ he means ‘I am angry.'” (Source: Janini 2015, p. 33)
In Afar the phrase is translated as robti leeh innah nel oobak sugtem hinnaa?: “Wasn’t it as rain coming down on us?” (heat is bad, rain is good in the desert). (Source: Loren Bliese)
The Greek that is translated “scripture” or “scriptures” in English is translated as “God’s word which people wrote” in Guerrero Amuzgo (source: M. Larson / B. Moore in Notes on Translation February 1970, p. 1-125) and “paper writings” in Copainalá Zoque (source: B. Moore / G. Turner in Notes on Translation 1967, p. 1ff.).
While the term “Bible,” often used as a synonym, does not appear in the Bible itself, there’s an interesting translation of that word in Dehu. Missionaries had translated “Bible” as “Container of the Word” until they realized that this was also used for “penis sheath.” (Source: Clifford 1992, p. 87)
Orthodox Icons are not drawings or creations of imagination. They are in fact writings of things not of this world. Icons can represent our Lord Jesus Christ, the Virgin Mary, and the Saints. They can also represent the Holy Trinity, Angels, the Heavenly hosts, and even events. Orthodox icons, unlike Western pictures, change the perspective and form of the image so that it is not naturalistic. This is done so that we can look beyond appearances of the world, and instead look to the spiritual truth of the holy person or event. (Source )
Many languages distinguish between inclusive and exclusive first-person plural pronouns (“we”). (Click or tap here to see more details)
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 inclusive form (including the two followers talking among themselves).
Source: Velma Pickett and Florence Cowan in Notes on Translation January 1962, p. 1ff.
Following are a number of back-translations of Luke 24:32:
Nyongar: “The two spoke together, ‘When Jesus spoke to us on the road, and explained the Scriptures to us, his words were like fire, burning inside us.'” (Source: Warda-Kwabba Luke-Ang)
Uma: “They spoke to each other, they said: ‘So that is why we felt moved [lit., our hearts were far-distant] on the road earlier, while he was speaking to us and explaining to us the contents of the Holy Book!'” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
Yakan: “Then the two of them talked together they said, ‘Therefore surprise we (dual) were so very glad while he talked to us (dual) on the road, when he explained the holy-book to us (dual).'” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
Western Bukidnon Manobo: “And those two men said to each other saying, ‘So that’s why we really liked awhile ago to listen to his interpreting to us the word of God.'” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
Kankanaey: “Then they asked-each-other, ‘So that emphatically is why our thoughts were good on the way while he was explaining to us (du) the written word of God.'” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
Tagbanwa: “Those two said, ‘So that’s why a while ago there on the trail when he was talking with us and explaining the things which were written, our minds/inner-beings were light(weight) and happy like that for it was indeed he after all.'” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)
God transcends gender, but most languages are limited to grammatical gender expressed in pronouns. In the case of English, this is traditionally confined to “he” (or in the forms “his,” “him,” and “himself”), “she” (and “her,” “hers,” and “herself”), and “it” (and “its” and “itself”).
Modern Mandarin Chinese, however, offers another possibility. Here, the third-person singular pronoun is always pronounced the same (tā), but it is written differently according to its gender (他 is “he,” 她 is “she,” and 它/牠 is “it” and their respective derivative forms). In each of these characters, the first (or upper) part defines the gender (man, woman, or thing/animal), while the second element gives the clue to its pronunciation.
In 1930, after a full century with dozens of Chinese translations, Bible translator Wang Yuande (王元德) coined a new “godly” pronoun: 祂. Chinese readers immediately knew how to pronounce it: tā. But they also recognized that the first part of that character, signifying something spiritual, clarified that each person of the Trinity has no gender aside from being God.
While the most important Protestant and Catholic Chinese versions respectively have opted not to use 祂, some Bible translations do and it is widely used in hymnals and other Christian materials. Among the translations that use 祂 to refer to “God” were early versions of Lü Zhenzhong’s (呂振中) version (New Testament: 1946, complete Bible: 1970). R.P. Kramers (in The Bible Translator 1956, p. 152ff.) explains why later versions of Lü’s translation did not continue with this practice: “This new way of writing ‘He,’ however, has created a minor problem of its own: must this polite form be used whenever Jesus is referred to? Lü follows the rule that, wherever Jesus is referred to as a human being, the normal ta (他) is written; where he is referred to as divine, especially after the ascension, the reverential ta (祂) is used.”
In that system one kind of pronoun is used for humans (male and female alike) and one for natural elements, non-liquid masses, and some spiritual entities (one other is used for large animals and another one for miscellaneous items). While in these languages the pronoun for spiritual entities used to be employed when referring to God, this has changed into the use of the human pronoun.
Lynell Zogbo (in The Bible Translator 1989, p. 401ff) explains in the following way: “From informal discussions with young Christians especially, it would appear that, at least for some people, the experience and/or concepts of Christianity are affecting the choice of pronoun for God. Some people explain that God is no longer ‘far away,’ but is somehow tangible and personal. For these speakers God has shifted over into the human category.”
In Kouya, God (the Father) and Jesus are referred to with the human pronoun ɔ, whereas the Holy Spirit is referred to with a non-human pronoun. (Northern Grebo and Western Krahn make a similar distinction.)
Eddie Arthur, a former Kouya Bible translation consultant, says the following: “We tried to insist that this shouldn’t happen, but the Kouya team members were insistent that the human pronoun for the Spirit would not work.”
In Burmese, the pronoun ko taw (ကိုယ်တော်) is used either as 2nd person (you) or 3rd person (he, him, his) reference. “This term clearly has its root in the religious language in Burmese. No ordinary persons are addressed or known by this pronoun because it is reserved for Buddhist monks, famous religious teachers, and in the case of Christianity, the Trinity.” (Source: Gam Seng Shae in The Bible Translator 2002, p. 202ff.)
In Thai, the pronoun phra`ong (พระองค์) is used, a gender-neutral pronoun which must refer to a previously introduced royal or divine being. Similarly, in Northern Khmer, which is spoken in Thailand, “an honorific divine pronoun” is used for the pronoun referring to the persons of the Trinity (source: David Thomas in The Bible Translator 1993, p. 445). In Urak Lawoi’, another language spoken in Thailand, the translation often uses tuhat (ตูฮัด) — “God” — ”as a divine pronoun where Thai has phra’ong even though it’s actually a noun.” (Source for Thai and Urak Lawoi’: Stephen Pattemore)
The English “Contemporary Torah” addresses the question of God and gendered pronouns by mostly avoiding pronouns in the first five books of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament (unless God is referred to as “lord,” “father,” “king,” or “warrior”). It does that by either using passive constructs (“He gave us” vs. “we were given”), by using the adjective “divine” or by using “God” rather than a pronoun.
Some Protestant English Bibles use a referential capitalized spelling when referring to the persons of the Trinity with “He,” “His,” “Him,” or “Himself.” This includes for instance the New American Standard Bible, but most translations, especially those published in the 21st century, do not. Two other languages where this is also done (in most Bible translations) are the closely related Indonesian and Malay. In both languages this follows the language usage according to the Qur’an, which in turn predicts that usage (see Soesilo in The Bible Translator 1991, p. 442ff. and The Bible Translator 1997, p. 433ff. ).
See also this chapter in the World Atlas of Language Structures on different approaches to personal pronouns.
ouchi hē kardia hēmōn kaiomenē ēn ‘was not our heart burning, or glowing.’ For ouchi cf. on 4.22. kaiomenē is used metaphorically and indicates both enthusiasm and expectation.
hōs elalei hēmin en tē hodō ‘while he talked to us on the road.’ elalei is durative imperfect. en tē hodō ‘on the road,’ i.e. ‘while/as we were going along’ (cf. also peripatountes in v. 17).
hōs diēnoigen hēmin tas graphas ‘while he opened up the scriptures to us,’ temporal clause co-ordinate with the preceding clause and explaining it.
Our hearts burn within us (or, “glow”, An American Translation), or, ‘a boiling comes to our hearts inside’ (Marathi, an idiom for joy and enthusiasm), a metaphor that has to be handled with caution. In Bahasa Indonesia, for instance, ‘a burning heart’ and ‘a hot heart’ indicate anger (similarly in Zarma), but ‘a flaming heart’ refers to fervour. Often terms for fire, glow, or heat must be discarded altogether; hence e.g., ‘drawn, as it were, our mind’ (Balinese), ‘hurt (i.e. longing) our hearts’ (Ekari), ‘something was-consuming in our-heart’ (Tae,’ an idiom for ‘we were profoundly moved’), ‘we have our hearts captivated’ (as might have been said in Shona), ‘our heart was beating for joy’ (Sranan Tongo). Our hearts is distributive, ‘the heart of each of us,’ or, since they are speaking to each other, “your heart” (Phillips 1952).
He opened to us the scriptures, or, ‘opened-for-us the meaning of the words of God’s book’ (Kele), ‘was making clear to us the books’ (Fulah). In Zarma a literal rendering is possible since in this language one uses ‘to open’ in the sense of ‘to interpret (a foreign language)’ or ‘to explain (a written message).’
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.