The Greek that is translated in English versions as “hell” (or “Gehenna”) is translated (1) by borrowing a term from a trade or national language (this is done in a number of Indian languages in Latin America, which have borrowed Spanish “infierno” — from Latin “infernus”: “of the lower regions”), (2) by using an expression denoting judgment or punishment, e.g. “place of punishment” (Loma), “place of suffering” (Highland Totonac, San Blas Kuna) and (3) by describing a significant characteristic: (a) the presence of fire or burning, e.g. “place of fire” (Kipsigis, Mossi), “the large bonfire” (Shipibo-Conibo), or (b) the traditionally presumed location, e.g. “the lowest place” (a well-known term in Ngäbere), “the place inside” long used to designate hell, as a place inside the earth (Aymara). (Source for this and above: Bratcher / Nida)

In Nyongar it is translated as Djinbaminyap or “Punishing place” (source: Warda-Kwabba Luke-Ang) and in Tagbanwa as “the fire which had no dying down” (source: Tagbanwa Back Translation).

The Chinese dìyù (地獄 / 地狱), literally “(under) earth prison,” is a term that was adopted from Buddhist sources into early Catholic writings and later also by Protestant translators. (Source: Zetzsche 1996, p. 32)

cause to stumble, offend

“The word ‘offend’ as a translation of the Greek skandalizó seems to cause all sorts of trouble for translators. The difficulty is that the meaning of this word covers such a wide area. The basic meaning of the Greek is ‘to cause to stumble by putting some impediment in the way.’ The present central meaning of English ‘offend’ is often quite different. In some languages there is no metaphorical value in a translation ‘to cause someone to stumble.’ If the language permits no such metaphor, the translator should not attempt to force it. In Highland Totonac, the metaphor ‘to show the wrong road to’ is used in a manner almost exactly parallel to the Greek idiom.” (Source: Nida 1947)

In San Blas Kuna the translation is “spoil the heart” (source: Claudio and Marvel Iglesias in The Bible Translator 1951, p. 85ff.).

See also fall away, stumble.


The Greek that is translated as “lame” in English is translated in various ways:

complete verse (Mark 9:45)

Following are a number of back-translations of Mark 9:45:

  • Uma: “If for instance one of our feet makes [carries] us sin, just cut it off. It’s better we just have one foot, as long as we get good life with God. That would be far better than for us to have two feet, yet in the end be cast into hell.” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “Likewise if your foot carries/influences you to sin, leave your sin. It’s parable is, as if you cut off your foot. It is better for you to enter heaven even if you are maimed (putuk) than that you have two feet but are thrown into hell, into the fire that cannot be put out.” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “And if your foot is the means by which you are successfully tempted, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to be maimed and given eternal life, rather than having two feet, you are thrown into hell.” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “And if your (sing.) foot/leg is what-makes-you-(sing.)-sin, cut-it-off. Because it would be better if you (sing.) go to share the life in heaven with one foot/leg cut-off than your (sing.) having two feet/legs and you (sing.) are thrown into the place of fire that never goes-out.” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “Well if it’s your foot which causes you to sin, cut that off. For it doesn’t matter even if one foot is cut off, as long as life which is without ending will be yours. Rather than having both feet and be thrown there into the fire which never dies down.” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)