complete verse (Matthew 20:26)

Following are a number of back-translations of Matthew 20:26:

  • Uma: “But you, don’t have behavior/character like that. Whoever of you wants to high rank, must become a servant [lit., ordered-one].” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “But you,’ said Isa, ‘you shall not do/be like that. Whoever of you wants to be made great, he shall be your servant.” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “But this cannot be here among you. If there is one of you who wants to be greatest, he must be the servant of all of his companions.” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “But that’s not how you should do. Because if someone among you wants to become-greater, it-is-necessary that he serve his companions like a servant,” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “But hopefully not like that will be made a habit of here with you. On the contrary, whoever of you wants to be praiseworthy, he must be the servant of his companions.” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)
  • Tenango Otomi: “But as for you, do not want that you are just commanding people. Concerning the person who wants a high position, this person must work to help his fellowman.” (Source: Tenango Otomi Back Translation)

formal pronoun: Jesus addressing his disciples and common people

Like many languages (but unlike Greek or Hebrew or English), Tuvan uses a formal vs. informal 2nd person pronoun (a familiar vs. a respectful “you”). Unlike other languages that have this feature, however, the translators of the Tuvan Bible have attempted to be very consistent in using the different forms of address in every case a 2nd person pronoun has to be used in the translation of the biblical text.

As Voinov shows in Pronominal Theology in Translating the Gospels (in: The Bible Translator 2002, p. 210ff.), the choice to use either of the pronouns many times involved theological judgment. While the formal pronoun can signal personal distance or a social/power distance between the speaker and addressee, the informal pronoun can indicate familiarity or social/power equality between speaker and addressee.

Here, Jesus is addressing his disciples, individuals and/or crowds with the formal pronoun, showing respect.

In most Dutch translations, Jesus addresses his disciples and common people with the informal pronoun, whereas they address him with the formal form.