locust

The Hebrew and Greek that is translated in English as “locust” is translated in Ayutla Mixtec as “insect like flying ants” because locusts are not known locally (source: Ronald D. Olson in Notes on Translation January, 1968, p. 15ff.).

wild honey

The Greek that is translated as “wild honey” in English was difficult to translate in Toba and Iyojwa’ja Chorote.

Bill Mitchell (in Omanson 2001, p. 435) explains why: “Unlike urban, industrialized society, the indigenous way of life is inextricably linked with the land. A deep relationship with nature permeates all of life. This can sometimes be seen in the wealth of vocabulary for certain items. Mark 1:6 and Matthew 3:4 state that John the Baptist ate ‘wild honey.’ The Tobas of northern Argentina have ten different words for ‘wild honey,’ the Chorotes have seven or eight. The biblical text does not specify a type of wild honey, but Toba translators live in the Gran Chaco and harvest wild honey. They want to use the exact word; they do not have a generic term.”

In both cases the translators ended up using the most common term for “wild honey.”

complete verse (Mark 1:6)

Following are a number of back-translations of Mark 1:6:

  • Uma: “Yohanes’ clothes were made of a domestic-animal called a camel. His belt was from leather. His food as grasshoppers and honey.” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “The clothes of Yahiya were woven camel’s hair and his belt was of leather (lit. cow hide). His food was locusts and honey.” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “Now this John was shirted in cloth woven of camel’s hair and belted with dried skin. His food was locusts and honey.” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “Juan’s clothes were woven of camel hair and his belt was of rawhide. What-he-ate also was locusts and honey (lit. water) of the wild-bee.” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “The clothes of Juan were cloth made from the hair/fur of the kamelyo animal, and his belt was made from cow hide. Grasshoppers which are locusts and honey of bees were his food.” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)