parable of the wise builder

The parable of the wise builder is translated in Yaosakor Asmat as “the wise builder is like the person who builds a house on stilts made of iron wood which last a long time, while the foolish builder is the one who builds a house on stilts made of white wood which will rot quickly.”

Daud Soesilio (in Noss 2007, p. 175) explains: “In Pirimapun, a swampy area on the southern coast of Indonesian Papua, the parable of the wise builder who builds on stone foundation and the foolish builder who builds on sand was rendered into the Asmat language as ‘the wise builder is like the person who builds a house on stilts made of iron wood which last a long time, while the foolish builder is the one who builds a house on stilts made of white wood which will rot quickly.’ This adaptation is necessary since one cannot find a single stone in this swampy area, and all houses are built on stilts. They use iron wood stilts for their more permanent houses, and they only use white wood stilts for the temporary houses that they use when they go hunting. White wood will not last. It is also interesting to point out that they use sand from the beach to make their walking paths firm.”

complete verse (Luke 6:47)

Following are a number of back-translations of Luke 6:47:

  • Uma: “People who come to me hearing and following my teaching, they are like the people in this parable:” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “Whoever comes to me and listens to my words and obeys them I will explain to you as to what he is like.” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “Any disciple of mine who hears my advice to him and acts on it, I tell you that” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “The one who comes to me who listens and believes/obeys what I say, I will parable to you what he is like.” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “Now/today I will make known to you what the person is like who comes to me and listens to what I am saying, and then he obeys it.” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)

formal pronoun: Jesus addressing his disciples and common people

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.