zeal, zealous

The Greek, Latin and Hebrew that is often translated in English as “zeal” or “zealous” is translated in Moken as “great love” (“my zeal” — cewui lak tho: “my great love.”) (Source: Gam Seng Shae)

In Ixcatlán Mazatec it is likewise translated as “love, commitment, enthusiasm” (not jealousy). (Source: Robert Bascom)

In Khasi is is translated with shitrhem which conveys the “idea of loving or devoted enthusiasm.” (Source: B. J. Syiemlieh)

Translation commentary on Sirach 51:18

For I resolved to live according to wisdom: New English Bible is a bit closer here to the Greek by saying “I determined to practise what I had learnt.” Good News Translation is good with “I was determined to live wisely.” Contemporary English Version is also possible: “I chose to live by Wisdom.” Wisdom is literally “her,” but Revised Standard Version spells out the pronoun for clarity. This is also true in the next verse.

And I was zealous for the good: Again Good News Translation is good. We could also say “and was devoted to doing what was right [or, only good things].”

And I shall never be put to shame: The author says here that he is not ashamed of or apologetic for living a life in search of wisdom. Good News Translation‘s crisp rendering “I have no regrets” is a good model, but so is Contemporary English Version “I have never had a reason to be ashamed.” We could also express this positively by saying “And I am proud of it.”

Quoted with permission from Bullard, Roger A. and Hatton, Howard A. A Handbook on Sirach. (UBS Helps for Translators). New York: UBS, 2008. For this and other handbooks for translators see here.