complete verse (Matthew 14:21)

Following are a number of back-translations of Matthew 14:21:

  • Uma: “The number of those who ate at that time, it was maybe five thousand, still only men, not-yet counted the women and children.” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “The people who had eaten were five thousand men, not counting the women and children.” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “Five thousand is the number of the men who ate, and the women and children were not included in the counting.” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “The number of those-who-ate was-about (lit. went to) five thousand of old-men and young-men, excluding the women and children.” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “As for the number of those who ate, the men alone were five thousand, apart from the women and children.” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)
  • Tenango Otomi: “Concerning the people who ate at this time, there were five thousand men who ate. A count wasn’t made of the women and the children.” (Source: Tenango Otomi Back Translation)

large numbers in Angguruk Yali

Many languages use a “body part tally system” where body parts function as numerals (see body part tally systems with a description). One such language is Angguruk Yali which uses a system that ends at the number 27. To circumvent this limitation, the Angguruk Yali translators adopted a strategy where a large number is first indicated with an approximation via the traditional system, followed by the exact number according to Arabic numerals. For example, where in 2 Samuel 6:1 it says “thirty thousand” in the English translation, the Angguruk Yali says teng-teng angge 30.000 or “so many rounds [following the body part tally system] 30,000,” likewise, in Acts 27:37 where the number “two hundred seventy-six” is used, the Angguruk Yali translation says teng-teng angge 276 or “so many rounds 276,” or in John 6:10 teng-teng angge 5.000 for “five thousand.”

This strategy is used in all the verses referenced here.

Source: Lourens de Vries in The Bible Translator 1998, p. 409ff.

See also numbers in Ngalum and numbers in Kombai.