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.)
Following are a number of back-translations of Luke 24:48:
- Nyongar: “You have become witnesses of all these things.” (Source: Warda-Kwabba Luke-Ang)
- Uma: “You are the ones who are the witnesses from/of all that.” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
- Yakan: “Because you have really seen what happened to me, therefore you shall be the witnesses,’ said Isa.” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
- Western Bukidnon Manobo: “And it’s necessary that you be the ones to preach all of this, that is written in the Word of God, that has been fulfilled by means of me because you have already seen it happen.” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
- Kankanaey: “You are the ones who will confirm that these-things that you have seen are true.” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
- Tagbanwa: “You are the ones who are to testify about these things, because it all happened before your eyes.” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)
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.