prison

The Greek that is translated in English as “prison” is translated in Dehu as moapokamo or “house for tying up people” (source: Maurice Leenhardt in The Bible Translator 1951, p. 97ff. ) and in Nyongar as maya-maya dedinyang or “house shut” (source: Warda-Kwabba Luke-Ang).

with orders to bring his head

The Greek that is translated “…with orders to bring his head” or similar in English is translated in Waiwai as noro pitho taki ehtati: “She says to go bring his head now.” Robert Hawkins (in The Bible Translator 1962, pp. 164ff. ) explains: “The particle ti indicates indirect quotation; with commands or requests it has the effect of laying all the responsibility for the command or request ontp another person. We feel that Herod, if he had been speaking Waiwai, would have thus laid the responsibility for this request on the daughter of Herodias as he regretted the action very much.”

See also John, whom I beheaded and has been raised.

complete verse (Mark 6:27)

Following are a number of back-translations of Mark 6:27:

  • Uma: “He at once ordered a soldier to go get the head of Yohanes the Baptizer. The soldier went to the prison and chopped off his heard.” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “Immediately he commanded one of the soldiers of his guard to go and get the head of Yahiya. So-then the soldier went to behead Yahiya in the prison.” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “Then he sent a soldier to the prison to cut off the head of John the Baptist. And the soldier went there and he cut off the head of John the Baptist.” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “Therefore he sent a soldier immediately to go get Juan’s head. The soldier went to the prison and cut-off his head.” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “He ordered the guard at once to bring to him the head of Juan. The one he ordered obeyed. Juan was beheaded there in prison.” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)

king

Some languages do not have a concept of kingship and therefore no immediate equivalent for the Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic that is translated as “king” in English. Here are some (back-) translations:

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  • Piro: “a great one”
  • Highland Totonac: “the big boss”
  • Huichol: “the one who commanded” (source for this and above: Bratcher / Nida)
  • Ekari: “the one who holds the country” (source: Reiling / Swellengrebel)
  • Una: weik sienyi: “big headman” (source: Kroneman 2004, p. 407)
  • Pass Valley Yali: “Big Man” (source: Daud Soesilo)
  • Ninia Yali: “big brother with the uplifted name” (source: Daud Soesilio in Noss 2007, p. 175)
  • Ghomála’: Fo (“The word Fo refers to the paramount ruler in the kingdoms of West Cameroon. He holds administrative, political, and religious power over his own people, who are divided into two categories: princes (descendants of royalty) and servants (everyone else).” (Source: Michel Kenmogne in Theologizing in Context: An Example from the Study of a Ghomala’ Christian Hymn))

Faye Edgerton retells how the term in Navajo was determined:

“[This term was] easily expressed in the language of Biblical culture, which had kings and noblemen with their brilliant trappings and their position of honor and praise. But leadership among the Navajos is not accompanied by any such titles or distinctions of dress. Those most respected, especially in earlier days, were their headmen, who were the leaders in raids, and the shaman, who was able to serve the people by appealing for them to the gods, or by exorcising evil spirits. Neither of these made any outward show. Neither held his position by political intrigue or heredity. If the headman failed consistently in raids, he was superceded by a better warrior. If the shaman failed many times in his healing ceremonies, it was considered that he was making mistakes in the chants, or had lost favor with the gods, and another was sought. The term Navajos use for headman is derived from a verb meaning ‘to move the head from side to side as in making an oration.’ The headman must be a good orator, able to move the people to go to war, or to follow him in any important decision. This word is naat’áanii which now means ‘one who rules or bosses.’ It is employed now for a foreman or boss of any kind of labor, as well as for the chairman of the tribal council. So in order to show that the king is not just a common boss but the highest ruler, the word ‘aláahgo, which expresses the superlative degree, was put before naat’áanii, and so ‘aláahgo naat’áanii ‘anyone-more-than-being around-he-moves-his-head-the-one-who’ means ‘the highest ruler.’ Naat’áanii was used for governor as the context usually shows that the person was a ruler of a country or associated with kings.”

(Source: Faye Edgerton in The Bible Translator 1962, p. 25ff.)