Translation Day 2: Do not condemn

9 Days of Translation Checking

Today is Day 2 of this celebration of those last 9 fruitful days of checking the Onnele translations of Luke out in the village last month.

Yesterday, I talked about ‘judging’ in Luke 6:37a. Now it’s time for Luke 6:37b.

The NASB reads, “… and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned.”

As with v. 37a, we again have the problem of not having passive verbs in the Onnele languages. So, once again, we specified God as the subsequent agent. Another feature of Onnele is that we cannot simply say ‘judge’ or ‘condemn’ as intransitive verbs. We have to specify the object of that condemning.

The idea of ‘condemnation’ in the second part of this verse is simply a parallel expansion on the idea of ‘judging’ in the first part, although ‘to condemn’ is stronger than ‘to judge’, and ‘condemning’ implies the status of guilt and deserved punishment.

An earlier draft of the Goiniri Onnele translation read like this…

“Pone ese fei pale eni pai nu uma plai, ka God re ese fei yape pone eni.”

“Do not give heavy to people, and God too will not give you heavy.”

While the idea of giving someone ‘heavy’ started to get at the idea of punishment that is associated with ‘condemnation’, this translation was just way too general. Also, giving ‘heavy’ focused too much on a physical action rather than the verbal assessment of someone else’s action. So the translation now reads…

“Pone ese fei kal mi polo nu uma plai nanrona nu nangke nale fafaile pu fane nu ese nem eni. La pone fei pangke nanrona, sa God re ese fei kal mi yolo pone.”

“Do not shoot talk nothing at people that they made bad skin so they must receive heavy. If you do not do this, then God too will not shoot talk nothing at you.”

So for ‘judging’ in v. 37a, we have “look around nothing at people with sharp liver-stomachs,” and for ‘condemning’ in v. 37b, we have “shoot talk nothing at people that they made bad skin so they must receive heavy.” The latter is an intensification of the former in the same ways that condemning specifies the action of judging.

To ‘shoot talk’ means to accuse, and to do it ‘nothing’ means to do it without consideration of the factors involved.

The phrase ‘bad skin’ is our key term for ‘sin’. The literal word ‘skin’ is commonly used to refer to a person’s behavior, so this refers to bad behavior.

To ‘give heavy’ is retained in this later draft, but it is now related more specifically to the verbal accusation of another person’s supposed guilt.

Tomorrow, we’ll look at how the man possessed by a demon addressed Jesus in Luke 4:33. Sometimes the English versions throw us off.

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