complete verse (Matthew 14:26)

Following are a number of back-translations of Matthew 14:26:

  • Uma: “When they saw that there was someone walking on top of the water, they were scared/spooked-out and they said: ‘It’s a ghost [lit., scary-thing]!’ They cried out/shouted carried by their fear.” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “When his disciples saw him walking on the skin of the lake they were terrified because they thought-mistakenly that he was a ghost. They screamed because they were terrified.” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “And when his disciples saw him, they were terrified. ‘A ghost!’ they said, and they yelled being afraid.” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “Upon his disciples seeing him walking on the surface of the water, they were extremely afraid. ‘Ghost!’ they said shouting while-simultaneously they screamed with their fear.” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “Those disciples’ hair-was-caused-to-stand-on-end from fear on seeing that one walking on top of the water. ‘Expletive!’ they said, ‘it’s one-who-has-died!'” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)
  • Tenango Otomi: “When he was about to arrive where his learners were, they saw him coming, walking on top of the water. They were afraid. In their fear they cried out and said: ‘Here comes a ghost.'” (Source: Tenango Otomi Back Translation)


The Greek that is often translated as “disciple” in English typically follows three types of translation: (1) those which employ a verb ‘to learn’ or ‘to be taught’, (2) those which involve an additional factor of following, or accompaniment, often in the sense of apprenticeship, and (3) those which imply imitation of the teacher.

Following are some examples (click or tap for details):

In Luang several terms with different shades of meaning are being used.

  • For Mark 2:23 and 3:7: maka nwatutu-nwaye’a re — “those that are taught” (“This is the term used for ‘disciples’ before the resurrection, while Jesus was still on earth teaching them.”)
  • For Acts 9:1 and 9:10: makpesiay — “those who believe.” (“This is the term used for believers and occasionally for the church, but also for referring to the disciples when tracking participants with a view to keeping them clear for the Luang readers. Although Greek has different terms for ‘believers’, ‘brothers’, and ‘church’, only one Luang word can be used in a given episode to avoid confusion. Using three different terms would imply three different sets of participants.”)
  • For Acts 6:1: mak lernohora Yesus wniatutunu-wniaye’eni — “those who follow Jesus’ teaching.” (“This is the term used for ‘disciples’ after Jesus returned to heaven.”)

Source: Kathy Taber in Notes on Translation 1/1999, p. 9-16.