right hand of

The Greek and Hebrew that is typically translated as “(to the) right hand of” is often translated much more descriptively in other languages. In Yakan it is translated as “at the right side, here in the greatest/most important/most honored place/seat,” in Mezquital Otomi as “the right hand, at the place of honor,” in Chuj as “exalted at the right hand,” in Chichimeca-Jonaz as “in a high place there at the right,” in Lalana Chinantec as “make great,” in Isthmus Mixe as “given great authority,” in Morelos Nahuatl as “placed big” or “heart-strengthens me,” in Isthmus Mixe as “stays with me,” (source: Viola Waterhouse in Notes on Translation August, 1966, p. 86ff), and in Teutila Cuicatec as “in all authority at the right side” (source: Ronald D. Olson in Notes on Translation January, 1968, p. 15ff.).

In Lamnso’, the seat on the right-hand side signifies that the person seated there would have a higher position than the one to his left (vs. just being a seat of honor). To circumvent any misunderstanding of the biblical text, the translation here refers to the “highest seat next to God.” (Source: Karl Grebe in Holzhausen 1991, p. 52)

complete verse (Mark 10:40)

Following are a number of back-translations of Mark 10:40:

  • Uma: “But as for who will sit on my right and my left, it’s mot I who determines that. It’s God who determines who gets that portion.'” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “But as for seating (anyone) on my right or on my left,’ said Isa, ‘it is not I who decides/rules that. But those seats belong to those whom God has prepared them for.'” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “however, I am not the one to choose who will be caused to sit on my right side and on my left side. For the only ones who will be able to sit there are those for whom my Father God has prepared it.'” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “But the one who will sit at my right and left, I have no authority to say, because God has already chosen the ones to sit there.'” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “But it doesn’t originate with me to determine who will sit at my right and left. As for those seats referred to, there are those they are being reserved for.'” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)