The Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek that is translated as “wisdom” in English is rendered in Amganad Ifugao and Tabasco Chontal as “(big) mind,” in Bulu and Yamba as “heart-thinking,” in Tae’ as “cleverness of heart” (source for this and all above: Reiling / Swellengrebel), in Palauan as “bright spirit (innermost)” (source: Bratcher / Hatton), in Ixcatlán Mazatec as “with your best/biggest thinking” (source: Robert Bascom), and in Dobel, it is translated with the idiom “their ear holes are long-lasting” (in Acts 6:3) (source: Jock Hughes).

See also wisdom (Proverbs).

wisdom ("heart wisdom")

In the Tzeltal translation for the dialectal variant of Highland Tzeltal (Biblia Tzeltal yu’un Oxchuc soc Tenejapa, 2001) the translation team used three different words to translate the Hebrew term that is translated as “wisdom” in English. For the verses referenced here, it uses p’ijil-o’tanil or “heart wisdom.”

For the complete story and more background, please see wisdom (Proverbs).

Translation commentary on Proverbs 8:1

“Does not wisdom call”: The whole verse is a rhetorical question in Hebrew, and this feature is reproduced by Revised Standard Version and some others. However, the effect of the rhetorical question is to draw attention to the speaker and the speech that follows in the rest of the chapter; and many languages do this in other ways. In English, for instance, Good News Translation has “Listen! . . .” and Revised English Bible “Hear how wisdom calls. . ..” “Wisdom” is as in 1.2 and is again personified as in 1.20-33. For “call” see 1.21, where Revised Standard Version renders the same Hebrew verb “cries out.” In some languages that require an object for the verb “call,” translators say something like “. . . calls out for us [plural, inclusive] to listen to her.”

“Does not understanding raise her voice?”: “Understanding” is as in 2.2. “Raise her voice” is the same as in 1.20. Since this line is very similar to line 1, some translations combine the two lines to say, for instance, “Everybody, listen! Wisdom is like a woman who stands and calls out to us.”

Quoted with permission from Reyburn, William D. and Fry, Euan McG. A Handbook on Proverbs. (UBS Helps for Translators). New York: UBS, 2000. For this and other handbooks for translators see here .