The 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).


The term that is translated as “lamb” in English is typically translated as “offspring of a sheep” in Ixcatlán Mazatec since there is no specific word for “lamb.” Since this could distract readers with thoughts of God being the sheep when the “lamb” refers to Jesus the translation into Ixcatlán Mazatec chose “little (individual) sheep” for those cases. (Source: Robert Bascom)

In Dëne Súline the native term for “lamb” directly translated as “the young one of an evil little caribou.” To avoid the negative connotation, a loan word from the neighboring South Slavey was used. (Source: NCAM, p. 70)

For the Kasua translation, it took a long process to find the right term. Rachel Greco (in The PNG Experience) tells this story:

“To the Kasua people of Western Province, every four-legged animal is a pig. They call a horse a pig-horse, a cow, a pig-cow, and a sheep, a pig-sheep, because all of these animals have four legs, which is kopolo, or pig, in their language.

“When the translation team would translate the word, ‘sheep’ in the New Testament, they would translate it as ‘pig-sheep’. So when Jesus is referred to as the ‘Lamb,’ (John 1:29; Rev. 12:11; Rev. 17:14), they translated as ‘pig-sheep’ so that in John 1:29 it would read: ‘Behold, the pig-sheep of God.’

“When some members of the translation team attended the Translators Training Course, they had the opportunity to observe and study sheep for the first time. As they watched and learned more about the animals’ behavior, their understanding of these creatures—and God’s Word—rotated on its axis.

“Once during the course, Logan and Konni — the translation team’s helpers — were driving with the team to a Bible dedication when Amos, one of the team members, said passionately, ‘We can’t use the word kopolo in front of the word, ‘sheep’! Pigs know when they’re about to die and squeal and scream.’ The team had often watched villagers tie up pigs so they wouldn’t escape.

“’But,’ Amos said, ‘Jesus didn’t do that.’ The team had learned that sheep are quiet and still when death walks toward them. They had observed, as they translated the New Testament, the words of Isaiah 53 fulfilled: ‘Like a lamb led to the slaughter, he did not open his mouth.’ And now they understood what it meant. For this reason, the team decided not to put pig-sheep in the New Testament for the word ‘sheep,’ but used sheep-animal or, in their language, a:pele sipi.

“The Kasua translation team also chose to discard the word ‘pig’ before sheep because pigs are unclean animals to the Jews. The team knew that Jesus was called the ‘Lamb of God’ in the New Testament to show that he is unblemished and clean. Hopefully the Lord will open up the Kasua villagers’ eyes to these same truths about Jesus as they read of Him in their own language.”

complete verse (Revelation 5:12)

Following are a number of back-translations of Revelation 5:12:

  • Uma: “They cheered/shouted-in-unison loudly, they said: ‘The Lamb that was slaughtered, it is very fitting we honor him, we praise him, we make-big his name, we talk-of his being strong, we speak-of his being rich, we speak-about his being wise [lit., clear], and we recount his power/authority!'” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “They sang loudly, they said, ‘The Sheep that was killed is worthy to be praised. Great is his authority. Deep is his knowledge/wisdom. He is very strong/powerful and he is really rich. Let us (incl.) show him respect. Let us (incl.) honor him. Let us (incl.) praise him.'” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “They all sang and their singing was very loud, they said, ‘The young sheep which allowed Himself to be killed is worthy to be praised because His power is great. His wisdom is great; His strength is great. He has great possessions. We honor Him, we respect Him, and we praise Him!'” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “They raised their voices singing, ‘The Sheep whom they killed, he is worthy that his authority, his wealth, his wisdom and his power be acknowledged. May he be the one who is honored/worshipped and made-high and spoken-highly-of.'” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “They were praising at full volume (lit. using up all their voice), saying, ‘This Young Sheep who caused/allowed his life to be severed, he is really acceptable to receive praise, praising his supernatural-power, wealth, and far-from-ordinary wisdom/understanding and his ability. It is really necessary that he be the one who is honored and praised.'” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)
  • Tenango Otomi: “Very loudly they said: ‘This Lamb who was killed, it is right that the people praise him. They will say that he is the one who has all power and he rules all the things there are, he has all wisdom. Therefore it is right that he be honored and praised.” (Source: Tenango Otomi Back Translation)