The Greek and Hebrew terms that are translated as “hypocrite” in English typically have a counterpart in most languages. According to Bratcher / Nida (1961, p. 225), they can be categorized into the following categories:

  • those which employ some concept of “two” or “double”
  • those which make use of some expression of “mouth” or “speaking”
  • those which are based upon some special cultural feature
  • those which employ a non-metaphorical phrase

Following is a list of (back-) translations from some languages:

The English version of Sarah Ruden (2021) uses “play-actor.” She explains (p. li): “A hupokrites is fundamentally an actor. The word has deep negativity in the Gospels on two counts: professional actors were not respectable people in the ancient world, and traditional Judaism did not countenance any kind of playacting. I write ‘play-actor’ throughout.”

See also hypocrisy.


The Greek that is translated as “log” in English is translated in Gbaya with the ideophone (a word that expresses what is perceived by the five senses) kpíŋgíí-te, imitating the sound of a heavy crash. (Source: Philip Noss in The Bible Translator 1985, p. 423ff.)

brother (fellow believer)

The Greek that is translated in English as “brother” (in the sense of a fellow believer), is translated with a specifically coined word in Kachin: “There are two terms for brother in Kachin. One is used to refer to a Christian brother. This term combines ‘older and younger brother.’ The other term is used specifically for addressing siblings. When one uses this term, one must specify if the older or younger person is involved. A parallel system exists for ‘sister’ as well. In [these verses], the term for ‘a Christian brother’ is used.” (Source: Gam Seng Shae)

In Martu Wangka it is translated as “relative” (this is also the term that is used for “follower.”) (Source: Carl Gross)

See also brothers.

complete verse (Luke 6:42)

Following are a number of back-translations of Luke 6:42:

  • Nyongar: “How can you say to your brother, ‘My brother, let me pick the speck from your eye’, but you don’t see the log in your own eye? You lie! Remove the log from your eye. Then you will see well and can pick the speck from your brother’s eye.” (Source: Warda-Kwabba Luke-Ang)
  • Uma: “How can we day to another: ‘Relative, come let me remove your sleep,’ when we do not even see the splinter in our own eye. Don’t pretend [your] behavior is good. We must first remove the splinter from our eye, so that our eyes are clear to remove the sleep of others.” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “How can you say to your companion, ‘Friend, come here, I will take the speck out of your eye,’ if you don’t see the tree trunk in your own eye? You are just pretending. Take out the tree trunk from your own eye first then you can see clearly to remove the speck from the eye of your companion.'” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “And you say to him that you will take out that speck in his eye, but there is a log in your eye which you pay no attention to. How false is your custom. You first take out the log which is in your eye, and then you’ll be able to see, and then you can remove also that speck in your companion’s eye.'” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “Why do you (sing.) tell your (sing.) fellow, ‘Please allow me (lit. please have-mercy) to wipe-away that eye-discharge of yours (sing.),’ while you (sing.) are blind-to your (sing.) large eye-discharge? You (sing.) hypocrite (lit. pretend good), first wipe-away your (sing.) large eye-discharge so you (sing.) can-see properly, then you (sing.) will be able to remove the eye-discharge of your (sing.) fellow.'” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “Well, how can you say to your companion, ‘Come here, I will remove your foreign-body-in-the-eye which is dust,’ since there is something wedged across your eye? Therefore you who regard your lifestyle as having nothing to find fault with, first improve your own nature/ways and then it will be possible/acceptable for you to point out what your companion is doing which is not good. First remove that which is wedged across, so that you will be able to see well. You will be better able to remove your companion’s foreign-body-in-the-eye.'” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)

See also complete verse (Matt. 7:3, Luke 6:41).