The interconfessional Chichewa translation (publ. 1999) uses the ideophone bata to describe complete quietness. (Source: Wendland 1998, p. 105)

Philip Noss (in The Bible Translator 1976, p. 100ff. ) explains the function of an ideophone: “The ideophone may be identified with onomatopoeia and other sound words frequently seen in French and English comic strips, but in [many] African languages it comprises a class of words with a very wide range of meaning and usage. They may function verbally, substantively, or in a modifying role similar to adverbs and adjectives. They describe anything that may be experienced: action, sound, color, quality, smell, or emotion. In oral literature they are used not only with great frequency but also with great creativity.”

inclusive vs. exclusive pronoun (Mark 4:38 / Luke 8:24)

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 (“we are perishing” in English translations), Yagua translators selected the inclusive form, including Jesus (the Sierra Totonac and the Tok Pisin translators did as well). The Yagua translators justify this by saying, “Did the disciples think of their Lord as about to perish with them, or were they selfishly only thinking of their own safety, or did they feel He at least would not perish? We translated this one with the inclusive, giving the disciples the benefit of the doubt, since they had waited so long to waken Him, they couldn’t have been too selfish in their thinking.” (Source: Paul Powlison in Notes on Translation with Drills, p. 165ff.)

Different versions of the Bible in Marathi have chosen different solutions for this. The versions by Pandita Ramabai (NT publ. 1912) chose the exclusive form and B. N. Athavle the inclusive form in his translation (publ. 1931). The Bible Society’s version (initially the British, later the Indian BS) in their revision of the 1950s also chose the exclusive form, despite strong protests of the revision committee’s chair H.G. Howard who interpreted Jesus’ strong rebuke of the disciples in succeeding verses due to the fact that the disciples had included him in their worries, which would necessitate the inclusive form. (Source: H.G. Howard in The Bible Translator 1925, p. 25ff. )

complete verse (Luke 8:24)

Following are a number of back-translations of Luke 8:24:

  • Nyongar: “The disciples went to Jesus and woke him. ‘Lord! Lord! We will die!’ Jesus awoke and spoke to the storm and waves. They stopped and everything became peaceful.” (Source: Warda-Kwabba Luke-Ang)
  • Uma: “His disciples went to Yesus [and] woke him up, they said: ‘Teacher! Teacher! We are dying!’ Yesus got up and forbade the wind and frightening waves. The wind stopped, and the lake was again still. All was quiet.” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “They went and woke up Isa, they said, ‘O, Sir, we (incl.) here will die.’ Then Isa got up and he stopped the wind and the strong waves. Immediately the wind stopped and the lake was calm.” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “And they came to Jesus and woke him and they said, ‘Chief, we’re about to be destroyed!’ And Jesus woke up then, and got up, and he told the wind and the big waves that they should be quiet. And then the lake became very peaceful.” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “So they then woke Jesus saying, ‘Ay Lord, Lord! Here we are drowning!’ Then Jesus got-up and commanded the wind and strong waves, and they completely (lit. correctly) became-quiet.” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “The disciples woke Jesus. ‘Master! Master!’ they said, ‘we’re going to sink!’ Without anything further, Jesus got up and spoke-sternly to the wind and the roughness. Well suddenly/unexpectedly the wind died down and it became very calm.” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)