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, the crowd and Pilate address each other with the formal, respectful pronoun.
The Greek that is translated as “King of the Jews” in most English translations is translated in Nyongar as Djelyib moortakang Judea-kang or “King of the people of Judea.” (Source: Warda-Kwabba Luke-Ang)
Following are a number of back-translations of Mark 15:9:
- Uma: “He asked them, ‘How [about it, would] you like it if I released for you this King of the Yahudi people?'” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
- Yakan: “Pilatus asked them, he said, ‘Do you want me to release to you the King of the Yahudi?'” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
- Western Bukidnon Manobo: “Pilate said, ‘Do you want me to release for you the king of the Jews?'” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
- Kankanaey: “Pilato said, ‘Do you want me to release the King of the Jews?'” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
- Tagbanwa: “‘Do you want,’ said Pilato, ‘that the one I will release is this King of the Judio?'” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)