The Hebrew, Greek, and Latin that is translated as “soul” in English is translated in Chol with a term that refers to the invisible aspects of human beings (source: Robert Bascom).

In Elhomwe it is translated as “heart.” (Source: project-specific translation notes in Paratext)

The Mandarin Chinese línghún (靈魂 / 灵魂), literally “spirit-soul,” is often used for “soul” (along with xīn [心] or “heart”). This is a term that was adopted from Buddhist sources into early Catholic writings and later also by Protestant translators. (Source: Zetzsche 1996, p. 32, see also Clara Ho-yan Chan in this article )

See also heart, soul, mind.

happiness / joy

The Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek that is typically translated in English as “joy” or “happiness” is translated in the Hausa Common Language Bible idiomatically as farin ciki or “white stomach.” In some cases, such as in Genesis 29:11, it is also added for emphatic purposes.

Other languages that use the same expression include Southern Birifor (pʋpɛl), Dera (popolok awo), Reshe (ɾipo ɾipuhã). (Source: Andy Warren-Rothlin)

See also Seat of the Mind / Seat of Emotions, rejoiced greatly / celebrated, the Mossi translation of “righteous”, and joy.

complete verse (Acts 2:26)

Following are a number of back-translations of Acts 2:26:

  • Uma: “That is why my heart is very glad, and I continually praise you (sing.), Lord. My body is ready/quiet waiting for you (sing.).” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “That’s why my liver is happy/joyful and I express-in-words my joy. And even if my body dies, I have (something) I hope for/expect.” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “Because of this, my breath is very good, and what I have to say is joyful. Oh Lord, I entrust to you my body.” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “Therefore, I am-made-happy and I praise you (sing.). My mind/thoughts are also peaceful, because I have hope for my body/myself” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “This is what my mind/inner-being can be happy about, and it’s necessary that I tell this happines of mine. And also, my God, even though my body will die, I am certain that” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)

For the Old Testament quotes, see Psalm 16:8ff.

Translation commentary on Psalm 16:9

Therefore: the psalmist’s happiness and sense of security is a result of Yahweh’s nearness to him (verse 8b).

The psalmist praises Yahweh for saving him from death. The three words heart, soul (literally “glory”; see comments on 7.5), and body (or, “flesh”) are not meant as different parts of the psalmist’s being, nor do they distinguish between his physical nature and the emotional or spiritual aspects of his being, but are ways of speaking about himself as a whole. It should be noticed that a number of scholars, including Dahood, instead of kavod “glory” of the Masoretic text, use the vowels for kaved “liver” as the seat of inner life, like “heart” and “kidneys”; the Septuagint has “my tongue.”

The emotions expressed in heart is glad and soul rejoices must often be recast in translation to speak of other body organs (stomach, liver, kidneys, throat). Accordingly one may sometimes say, for example, “my stomach is warm and my kidneys happy” or “my liver is bright and my innermost sings.” If body parts are not used in this way, it is always possible, with a certain poetic loss, to say, for example, “I am glad, very glad.”

Dwells, with my body as the subject, describes the condition or state of the psalmist; he “is” or “remains” secure (see comments on “in safety” in 4.8).

My body also dwells secure is again a part representing the whole, and in many languages it will be more natural to replace body with the pronoun “I”; for example, “I live in safety” or “I am safe.”

Quoted with permission from Bratcher, Robert G. and Reyburn, William D. A Handbook on the Book of Psalms. (UBS Helps for Translators). New York: UBS, 1991. For this and other handbooks for translators see here .