complete verse (Matthew 21:28)

Following are a number of back-translations of Matthew 21:28:

  • Uma: “Yesus continued his words to the leaders of the Yahudi religion, he said: ‘What is your opinion about this: there was a father, he had two children, both male. He went to the older, he said to him: ‘Son/Boy, today go work in the fields.'” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “Isa told a parable, he said, ‘What do you say about this? A man had two sons. He said to the older one, ‘Toto, go today and work on our (incl.) land.'” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “And Jesus said again to them, ‘What do you think about this? There was a person who had two sons. He went to the oldest and he said, ‘Son, today you work in the vineyard.'” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “Then Jesus related this parable to them. He said, ‘What is your opinion about-this? There was a father who had two children who were males. On one occasion, he said to the older-brother, ‘My child, go work in the vineyard.'” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “Jesus next said to them, ‘What is your perception of this illustration? There was a man who had two sons. He instructed the older boy, saying, ‘Son, work in our (incl.) ubas plantation today.'” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)
  • Tenango Otomi: “Jesus said to the people he was talking with: ‘What do you think of the word I will tell you now? A man has two sons. He says to one of his sons: ‘Listen, son, go to work in my field,’ he tells him.” (Source: Tenango Otomi Back Translation)

formal pronoun: Jesus addressing religious leaders

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 religious leaders with the formal pronoun, showing respect. Compare that with the typical address with the informal pronoun of the religious leaders.

The only two exceptions to this are Luke 7:40/43 and 10:26 where Jesus uses the informal pronoun as a response to the sycophantic use of the formal pronoun by the religious leaders (see formal pronoun: religious leaders addressing Jesus).

In most Dutch translations, the same distinctions are made, with the exception of Luke 10:26 where Jesus is using the formal pronoun. In Afrikaans and Western Frisian the informal pronoun is used throughout.