The Hebrew and the Greek that are translated in English versions as “prophesy” are translated into Anuak as “sing a song” (source: Loren Bliese), into Balanta-Kentohe as “passing on message of God” (source: Rob Koops), and into Ixcatlán Mazatec with a term that does not only refer to the future, but is “speak on behalf of God” (source: Robert Bascom).

Other translations include: “God making someone to show something in advance” (Ojitlán Chinantec), “God causing someone to think and then say it” (Aguaruna), “speaking God’s thoughts” (Shipibo-Conibo), “God made someone say something” “Xicotepec De Juárez Totonac) (source for this and above: M. Larson / B. Moore in Notes on Translation February 1970, p. 1-125), and “say what God wants people to hear” (tell people God wod dat e gii oona fa say) (Gullah) (source: Robert Bascom).

In Luang it is translated with different shades of meaning:

  • For Acts 3:18, 3:21, 3:25: nurwowohora — “mouth says words that don’t come from one’s own mind.” (“This term refers to an individual’s speaking words that are not his because either a good or bad spirit is at work through him. The speaker is not in control of himself.”)
  • For Acts 19:6, Acts 21:9: nakotnohora — “talk about.” (“The focus of this term is on telling God’s message for the present as opposed to the future.”)
  • For Acts 21:11: rora — “foretell” (“The focus of this term is giving God’s message concerning the future. The person who speaks is aware of what he is doing and he is using his own mind, yet it is with God’s power that he foretells the future.”)

Source: Kathy Taber in Notes on Translation 1/1999, p. 9-16.

See also prophet and prophesy / prophetic frenzy.


The Hebrew or Greek which are translated into English as “sackcloth” are rendered into Chamula Tzotzil as “sad-heart clothes.” (Source: Robert Bascom)

Pohnpeian and Chuukese translate it as “clothing-of sadness,” Eastern Highland Otomi uses “clothing that hurts,” Central Mazahua “that which is scratchy,” and Tae’ and Zarma “rags.” (Source: Reiling / Swellengrebel)

Click or tap here to see a short video clip showing what a sackcloth looked like in biblical times (source: Bible Lands 2012)

See also you have loosed my sackcloth.

complete verse (Revelation 11:3)

Following are a number of back-translations of Revelation 11:3:

  • Uma: “At that time, I will send my two witnesses to carry my Word. Those two witnesses of mine will be dressed in black, like that used by people who are sad and they will carry my Word for one thousand two hundred sixty days.'” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “I will send my two witnesses there. They will dress in sacks and they will spread/make-known God’s message in those one thousand and two hundred and sixty days.'” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “And I will send there the two whom I will cause to preach. They will be clothed in sackcloth, and they will tell what I cause them to say for one thousand two hundred and sixty days.'” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “But there are also two witnesses of mine whom I will send to go confirm concerning me. They will be wearing sacks, and they will say what I will make-known to them within those-aforementioned one thousand two hundred and sixty days.'” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “which is one thousand and two hundred and sixty days. But I will cause my two testifiers to go there, dressed in rough-cloth which is a sign of grief. Well, during these days, they will keep on teaching concerning God and his word that people must repent/be-sorry.'” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)
  • Tenango Otomi: “I will send two messenger of mine to speak for me during one thousand, two hundred and sixty days. These will wear the clothing of mourning,’ he said.” (Source: Tenango Otomi Back Translation)