he sent two of his disciples

The Greek that is translated as “he sent two of his disciples” in English had to be translated in Mezquital Otomi: as !Jesus sent two of his disciples ahead to borrow a little donkey.” The implicit idea of borrowing the donkey had to be made explicit to avoid the wrong meaning that the instructions of verses 2 and 3 were for them to steal it. (Source: B. Moore / G. Turner in Notes on Translation 1967, p. 1ff.)

complete verse (Mark 11:1)

Following are a number of back-translations of Mark 11:1:

  • Uma: “When they were close to the village of Yerusalem, they arrived at the village of Betfage and Betania on Zaitun Mountain. There Yesus ordered two of his disciples to go on ahead,” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “So-then they were close to Awrusalam already because they were soon arriving at the villages of Betpage and Betani there at/on the hill Jaitun. Isa told two of his disciples to go ahead (of him).” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “They were now near to the city of Jerusalem for they were about to arrive in the town of Bethphage and the town of Bethany on the hill called Olive Place. Then Jesus sent two of his disciples,” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “As [plural] Jesus were approaching Jerusalem, they arrived across-from Betfage and Betania below the hill Olivo. He had-two of his disciples-go-ahead” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “When they were close now to Jerusalem, being now there on the Hill of Olibo, that the barios of Betfage and Betania could now be seen, there was an errand Jesus caused two of his disciples to go on.” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)


(To view the different translations of this term in a simplified graphical form on a new page, click or tap here.)

The Greek that is often translated as “disciple” in English typically follows three types of translation: (1) those which employ a verb ‘to learn’ or ‘to be taught’, (2) those which involve an additional factor of following, or accompaniment, often in the sense of apprenticeship, and (3) those which imply imitation of the teacher.

Following are some examples (click or tap for details):

In Luang several terms with different shades of meaning are being used.

  • For Mark 2:23 and 3:7: maka nwatutu-nwaye’a re — “those that are taught” (“This is the term used for ‘disciples’ before the resurrection, while Jesus was still on earth teaching them.”)
  • For Acts 9:1 and 9:10: makpesiay — “those who believe.” (“This is the term used for believers and occasionally for the church, but also for referring to the disciples when tracking participants with a view to keeping them clear for the Luang readers. Although Greek has different terms for ‘believers’, ‘brothers’, and ‘church’, only one Luang word can be used in a given episode to avoid confusion. Using three different terms would imply three different sets of participants.”)
  • For Acts 6:1: mak lernohora Yesus wniatutunu-wniaye’eni — “those who follow Jesus’ teaching.” (“This is the term used for ‘disciples’ after Jesus returned to heaven.”)

Source: Kathy Taber in Notes on Translation 1/1999, p. 9-16.