leprosy, leprous

The Greek and Hebrew terms that are often translated as “leprosy” or “leprous (person)” in English is translated in Mairasi as “the bad sickness,” since “leprosy is very common in the Mairasi area” (source: Enggavoter 2004).

Following are various other translations:

  • Shilluk: “disease of animals”
  • San Mateo Del Mar Huave: “devil sore” (this and the above are indigenous expressions)
  • Inupiaq: “decaying sores”
  • Kaqchikel: “skin-rotting disease” (source for this and three above: Eugene Nida in The Bible Translator 1960, p. 34f. )
  • Nyongar: “bad skin disease” (source: Warda-Kwabba Luke-Ang)
  • Tzotzil “rotting sickness” (source: Ronald D. Olson in Notes on Translation January, 1968, p. 15ff.)
  • Usila Chinantec “sickness like mal de pinta” (a skin disease involving discoloration by loss of pigment) (source: B. Moore / G. Turner in Notes on Translation 1967, p. 1ff.)

See also leprosy healed.

lame

The Greek that is translated as “lame” in English is translated in various ways:

blind

The Hebrew and Greek that is translated as “blind” in English is translated as “(having) eyes dark/night” in Ekari or “having no eyes” in Zarma. (Source: Nida 1964, p. 200)

See also blind (Luke 4:18).

gospel

In choosing a word for the Greek that is typically translated as “gospel” in English, a number of languages construct a phrase meaning “good news,” “joyful report” or “happiness-bringing words.” In some instances such a phrase may be slightly expanded in order to convey the proper meaning, e.g. “new good word” (Tzotzil), or it may involve some special local usage:

Vitaly Voinov tells this story about the translation into Rutul (click or tap here to see the rest of this insight):

“In Rutul, it was only during the most recent consultant checking session that I realized that the Rutul word for Gospel – Incir (from Arabic إنجيل — Injil) — sounds and looks exactly like the word that means ‘fig’ in Rutul. This is a case of homonymy, in which two completely non-related words from differing historical sources have come to sound exactly alike. Most Rutul speakers know that incir means ‘fig’ because they grow this fruit in their yard or buy it at the market every week. However, because the religious sphere of discourse was heavily disparaged during the Soviet era, most people simply never encountered Incir with the meaning of ‘Gospel.’ This meaning of the word, which Rutuls of the pre-Soviet era knew from the Koran, simply fell into disuse and never had much reason for returning into contemporary Rutul since there is no Christian church established among the people. So if the translator continues to use the term Incir as the rendering for ‘Gospel,’ he runs the risk that most readers will, at best, read the word with a smile because they know that it also means ‘fig,’ and, at worst, will completely misunderstand the word. The seemingly ‘easy’ solution in this case is for the translator to use a Rutul neologism meaning ‘Joyful Message’ or ‘Good News,’ [see above] instead of Incir; but in fact it is not all that easy to make this change if the translator himself insists on using the historical word because at least some Rutuls still understand it as meaning ‘Gospel.’ This is a situation in which the translation team has to gradually grow into the understanding that a fully intelligible translation of Scripture is preferable to one that maintains old words at the cost of alienating much of the readership.”

For “good news,” see also Isaiah 52:7.

complete verse (Luke 7:22)

Following are a number of back-translations of Luke 7:22:

  • Nyongar: “Jesus said to John’s disciples, ‘Go and tell John these things you have seen and heard. Blind people can see, lame people can walk, people with skin diseases are clean, deaf people can hear, dead people are raised to life, the Good News is preached to poor people.” (Source: Warda-Kwabba Luke-Ang)
  • Uma: “Yesus said saying to those messengers of Yohanes like this: ‘Go home, tell Yohanes there what you have seen and heard: the blind see, the lame walk straight, the lepers are healed, the deaf hear, the dead live again, and the Good News I announce to those whose lives are pitiful.” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “Then Isa answered the two disciples of Yahiya, he said, ‘Go and tell Yahiya what you have seen me doing and what you have heard me saying. Tell him that the blind see, the crippled ones walk, the lepers are healed, the deaf can hear, the dead come back to life again and the good news is proclaimed to the people who are to be pitied.” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “And Jesus said to those messengers of John, he said, ‘Return to John and tell him the things you have seen which I have done, and what you have heard that I have said. Tell him that because of me, blind people can see and lame people can now walk. Lepers are now cured and those who are deaf can now hear. I have raised up those who were dead and I have preached to the poor the good news.” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “So he said to those whom Juan had sent, ‘Return to Juan to go tell him what you have seen and heard, that the blind, they are-able-to-see, the lame, they can-walk, those who have a fearful skin disease, they have-been-made-well, the deaf, they can-hear, the dead, they lived again, and the good news, it is being preached to the poor.” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “Therefore Jesus replied to those who had been sent, saying, ‘Return there to Juan now and tell him what you have seen and heard, that the blind ones can see, the lame ones can walk, the leprosy of the lepers has stopped, the deaf ones can hear, even the dead are coming alive again, and this Good News is being taught to the low-class/insignificant.” (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.

In most Dutch translations, Jesus addresses his disciples and common people with the informal pronoun, whereas they address him with the formal form.