The Greek that is a transliteration of the Hebrew Pərūšīm and is typically transliterated into English as “Pharisee” is transliterated in Chinese as Fǎlìsài (法利賽 / 法利赛) (Protestant) or Fǎlìsāi (法利塞) (Catholic). In Chinese, transliterations can typically be done with a great number of different and identical-sounding characters. Often the meaning of the characters are not relevant, unless they are chosen carefully as in these cases. The Protestant Fǎlìsài can mean something like “Competition for the profit of the law” and the Catholic Fǎlìsāi “Stuffed by/with the profit of the law.” (Source: Zetzsche 1996, p. 51)

In Finnish Sign Language it is translated with the sign signifying “prayer shawl”. (Source: Tarja Sandholm)

“Pharisee” in Finnish Sign Language (source )

Scot McKnight (in The Second Testament, publ. 2023) translates it into English as Observant. He explains (p. 302): “Pharisee has become a public, universal pejorative term for a hypocrite. Pharisees were observant of the interpretation of the Covenant Code called the ‘tradition of the elders.’ They conformed their behaviors to the interpretation. Among the various groups of Jews at the time of Jesus, they were perhaps closest to Jesus in their overall concern to make a radical commitment to the will of God (as they understood it).”

complete verse (Matthew 23:26)

Following are a number of back-translations of Matthew 23:26:

  • Uma: “You are indeed like blind people, you Parisi people! Clean the outside of the cups first, so that the outside will be good too.” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “You are blind, Pariseos. Clean first what you put in them then your plates and cups will also be clean.” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “You Pharisees are like blind people. First clean what you put on the inside, and then your cup and dish can also be cleaned.” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “Oh confound you (expression of exasperation and reproof)! You blind Pharisees! You should first clean what is inside the cup so that the outside (lit. trunk) will also be clean.” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “You Pariseo are blind! You must first make new what is in your mind/inner-being. For if what is in your mind is good, good too are the deeds which will come from it.” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)
  • Tenango Otomi: “Listen, Pharisees, you do not understand the meaning of what you do. First clean your hearts so then also on the outside of your bodies it will appear that you are good.” (Source: Tenango Otomi Back Translation)