wolf

The Hebrew and Greek that is translated in English as “wolf” is translated in Muna as da’u ngkahoku: “forest dog,” because there is no immediate lexical equivalent. (Source: René van den Berg)

In Asháninka, it is translated as “ferocious animal,” in Waffa and Kui as “wild dog,” and in Navajo as “Coyote” (source: M. Larson / B. Moore in Notes on Translation February 1970, p. 1-125), and in Odia as “tiger” (source for this and for Kui: Helen Evans in The Bible Translator 1954, p. 40ff. )

In Lingala it is translated as “leopard.” Sigurd F. Westberg (in The Bible Translator 1956, p. 117ff. ) explains: “The wolf, for example, does not exist here, but its relative the jackal does and we have a name for it. But the jackal does not prey on domestic animals as the wolf did in Palestine, nor is he as fierce. The equivalent from these points of view is the leopard. Hence in Genesis 49 Benjamin is likened to a ravenous leopard, and the basic meaning is approached more closely than if we had been governed by scientific classification.”

Mungaka also uses “leopard” (see also bear (animal)) (source: Nama 1990).

Michel Kenmogne comments on this and comparable translations (in Noss 2007, p. 378 ff.): “Some exegetical solutions adopted by missionary translations may have been acceptable during that time frame, but weighed against today’s translation theory and procedures, they appear quite outdated and even questionable. For example, Atangana Nama approvingly mentions the translation into Mungaka of terms like ‘deer’ as ‘leopard’, ‘camel’ as ‘elephant’, and ‘wheat’ as ‘maize,’ where the target language has no direct equivalent to the source text. These pre-Nida translation options, now known as adaptations, would be declared unacceptable in modern practice, since they misrepresent the historico-zoological and agricultural realities in the Bible. Nowadays it is considered better to give a generalized term, like ‘grain,’ and where necessary specify ‘a grain called wheat,’ than to give an incorrect equivalence. Unknown animals such as bears, can be called ‘fierce animals,’ especially if the reference is a non-historical context.”

devout

The Greek that is often translated in English as “devout” is translated in Lalana Chinantec as “who revered God,” in Chichimeca-Jonaz as “who obey and worship God,” in Eastern Highland Otomi as “that remembered God,” in San Mateo del Mar Huave as “worshipers of God,” in Tzotzil as “they were zealously doing God’s word they thought,” in Coatlan Mixe as “they comply with all Jewish customs” (esp. Acts 2:5) and in Mezquital Otomi as “very much believed what they had been taught about God.” (Source: Viola Waterhouse in Notes on Translation August 1966, p. 86ff.)

In Chichewa, “devout men” in Acts 8:2 is anthu ena okonda Mulungu or “some people who loved God” (interconfessional translation, publ. 1999). (Source: Wendland 1998, p. 90)