complete verse (Matthew 26:8)

Following are a number of back-translations of Matthew 26:8:

  • Uma: “When his disciples say what the woman had done, they became angry, they said: ‘Why was expensive oil wasted like that?” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “When the disciples of Isa saw that, they were angry, and they spoke-among-each-other, they said, ‘Why is that fragrant oil wasted/destroyed in that way?” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “And when his disciples saw this, they got angry. They said, ‘Why did she waste this?” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “When his disciples saw it, they became-angry and they said, ‘Oh-what-a-waste!” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “The disciples got angry when they saw that. They murmured among themselves saying, ‘Why was this perfume wasted?” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)
  • Tenango Otomi: “When the learners saw what the woman did, they got angry and said: ‘How come the oil got wasted?” (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):

Scot McKnight (in The Second Testament, publ. 2023) translates it into English as apprentice.

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.

In American Sign Language it is translated with a combination of the signs for “following” plus the sign for “group.” (Source: RuthAnna Spooner, Ron Lawer)

“disciples” in American Sign Language, source: Deaf Harbor