serve (Igede)

The Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek that is typically translated in English as “serve,” “minister,” “walk with,” or “service” is translated in Igede as myị ẹrụ or “agree with message (of the one you’re serving).” (source: Andy Warren-Rothlin)

See also serve.

complete verse (Matthew 20:27)

Following are a number of back-translations of Matthew 20:27:

  • Uma: “And whoever wants a big name must become your slave.” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “And whoever of you wants to become the greatest he shall be like a slave helping his companions.” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “And if there is one of you who wants that he is the highest of all, it is necessary that he makes himself lower than all.” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “and the one who wants to be the most-important, it-is-necessary that he serve his companions like a slave.” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “And whoever wants to become most-important, he must make himself like a slave of his companions.” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)
  • Tenango Otomi: “As for you, whoever wants to lead all of his friends, this one must become your worker.” (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.

Translation commentary on Matthew 20:27

Attention should be given to the need of introducing a new sentence here, although Revised Standard Version and Good News Translation, as well as most other English translations, follow the pattern of the Greek sentence structure by continuing the same sentence through verse 27. This verse forms a parallel to what was said in the previous verse; here first substitutes for “great,” and slave substitutes for “servant.” Thus first can be translated as “most important” or “highest rank.”

Your slave (as opposed to “slave of all” in Mark 10.44) refers to lowly service within the Christian community and represents a uniquely Matthean concern. Once again Die Bibel im heutigen Deutsch very effectively shifts to a verb construction: “must subordinate himself to all.” It can also be expressed as “take the very lowest position” or “be the one who serves all.”

Quoted with permission from Newman, Barclay M. and Stine, Philip C. A Handbook on the Gospel of Matthew. (UBS Handbook Series). New York: UBS, 1988. For this and other handbooks for translators see here .

formal second person plural pronoun

Like a number of other East Asian languages, Japanese uses a complex system of honorifics, i.e. a system where a number of different levels of politeness are expressed in language via words, word forms or grammatical constructs. These can range from addressing someone or referring to someone with contempt (very informal) to expressing the highest level of reference (as used in addressing or referring to God) or any number of levels in-between.

One way Japanese show different degree of politeness is through the choice of a formal plural suffix to the second person pronoun (“you” and its various forms) as shown here in the widely-used Japanese Shinkaiyaku (新改訳) Bible of 2017.

In these verses, anata-gata (あなたがた) is used, combining the second person pronoun anata and the plural suffix -gata to create a formal plural pronoun (“you” [plural] in English).

(Source: S. E. Doi, see also S. E. Doi in Journal of Translation, 18/2022, p. 37ff. )