beget (was the father of)

The Greek that is translated as “beget” (or “begat” in the past tense) in older English versions and “was the father of” in more recent ones is translated into Latvian with dzemdināt: “make to give birth” (from dzemdēt “give birth”).

John the Baptist

The name that is transliterated as “John (the Baptist)” in English is translated in Spanish Sign Language and Mexican Sign Language as “baptize” (source: John Elwode in The Bible Translator 2008, p. 78ff. )

“John the Baptist” in Mexican Sign Language (source: BSLM )

In German Sign Language (Catholic) it is translated with the sign for the letter J and the sign signifying a Catholic baptism by sprinkling on the head.

“John” in German Sign Language /catholic, source: Taub und katholisch

In American Sign Language it is translated with the sign for the letter J and the sign signifying “shout,” referring to John 1:23. (Source: RuthAnna Spooner, Ron Lawer)

“John” in American Sign Language, source: Deaf Harbor

Similarly, in French Sign Language, it is “prepare the way.” (Source: Lexique – Explications en langue des signes)

In Vietnamese (Hanoi) Sign Language it is translated with the sign for leaping in the womb (see Luke 1:41) and baptism. (Source: The Vietnamese Sign Language translation team, VSLBT)

“John” in Vietnamese Sign Language, source: SooSL

A question of cultural assumptions arose in Tuvan. The instinctive way to translate this name denotatively would be “John the Dipper,” but this would carry the highly misleading connotation that he drowned people. It was therefore decided that his label should focus on the other major aspect of his work, that is, proclaiming that the Messiah would soon succeed him. (Compare his title in Russian Orthodox translation “Иоанн Предтеча” — “John the Forerunner.”) So he became “John the Announcer,” which fortunately did not seem to give rise to any confusion with radio newsreaders! (Source: David Clark in The Bible Translator 2015, p. 117ff. )

In Noongar it is translated as John-Kakaloorniny or “John Washing” (source: Warda-Kwabba Luke-Ang).

See also John the Baptist (icon).

Learn more on Bible Odyssey: John the Baptist .

genealogy in Matthew 1

Genealogies play an important role among many of Indonesian language groups and it’s important to follow the right format to make them recognizable as such. Daniel Arichea explains (in The Bible Translator 1986. p. 232ff. ):

“In translating the genealogies, we need to pay attention to the standard form of genealogical lists in the language of translation. Among the Bataks, it was discovered after some research that the genealogies are recorded in the form of a list of ancestors. Furthermore, this list almost always starts from the ancestor and goes down to the descendants. This seems to be true also for many other Indonesian groups, although there are some variations. For the genealogies to have meaning among the Bataks and other groups of similar cultures, these genealogies must be in a form which is appropriate.

“In Matthew 1:2-16, the biblical form is strange to many Indonesians. (…) The second edition of the Common Language Indonesian New Testament (Alkitab dalam Bahasa Indonesia Masa Kini) discarded the biblical form and came out with a series of ancestral lists. (…) When this was tested, however, many Indonesians did not recognize these lists as genealogical lists, but saw them simply as a list of names. In the light of such reactions, the new edition which is included in the recently published common language Bible has printed these lists as genealogical lists moving downward from the ancestors to the descendants. Thus, verse 2 reads: “From Abraham until David, the names of the ancestors of Jesus are as follows” [which is then followed by a list].”

You can see this in the following screen capture (available right here ):

In the Kölsch translation (publ. 2017), the genealogy is summarized: “From Abraham to David there were fourteen generations. There were another fourteen generations from David until the Jews were deported to Babylon and from Babylon to Jesus there were yet another fourteen generations. This shows that Joseph (Jupp), Mary’s husband, was a descendant of Abraham and David.” (Translation: Jost Zetzsche)

John the Baptist (icon)

Following is a Syriac Orthodox icon of John the Baptist from the 18/19th century (found in the Cathedral of Saints Constantine and Helen, Yabrud, Syria).

The wings are often depicted in icons of John the Baptist because of his status as a messenger. The scroll that John the Baptist holds quotes John 1:29 and reads (translated into English): “I saw and witnessed concerning him, ‘Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.’”

Orthodox Icons are not drawings or creations of imagination. They are in fact writings of things not of this world. Icons can represent our Lord Jesus Christ, the Virgin Mary, and the Saints. They can also represent the Holy Trinity, Angels, the Heavenly hosts, and even events. Orthodox icons, unlike Western pictures, change the perspective and form of the image so that it is not naturalistic. This is done so that we can look beyond appearances of the world, and instead look to the spiritual truth of the holy person or event. (Source )

See also John the Baptist.


The name that is transliterated as “Achim” in English is translated in Libras (Brazilian Sign Language) with a sign that depicts “the Lord will establish” (the original meaning of the name) and the shoulder refers to Achim’s ancestors from the Kings of Judah. (Source: Missão Kophós )

“Achim” in Libras (source )

complete verse (Matthew 1:14)

Following are a number of back-translations of Matthew 1:14:

  • Uma: “Azor was the progenitor of Zadok, Zadok was the progenitor of Akhim, Akhim was the progenitor of Eliud,” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “From the time of the deportation of the people of Isra’il to Babilon to the birth of Isa, these are the ancestors listed: Jekoniya was the father of Salati, Salati was the father of Serubbabel, Serubbabel was the father of Abiyud, Abiyud was the father of Eliyakim, Eliyakim was the father of Asor, Asor was the father of Sadok, Sadok was the father of Akim, Akim was the father of Eliyud, Eliyud was the father of Eleyasar, Eleyasar was the father of Mattan, Mattan was the father of Yakub, Yakub was the father of Yusup the husband of Mariyam. Mariyam was the mother of Isa called the Almasi.” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “Azor was the father of Zadok, Zadok was the father of Achim. Achim was the father of Eliud.” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “Azor, that was the father of Zadok who was the father of Akim who was in-turn the father of Eliud.” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “Azor was the father of Sadoc, he being the father of Aquim. This Aquim was the father of Eliud.” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)