In translating the Bible into a new language, there are all sorts of challenges. One of those challenges is that certain words don’t exist in the language you’re translating it into. For example, in training, I had heard about languages that did’t have a generic word “brother,” and had to either say “older brother” or “younger brother.” That makes it tricky when you get to passages about people like “James and his brother John.” Who’s older and who’s younger? Or how about between Peter and Andrew? Who is the older brother and who is the younger brother?
Jula is one of those languages. Instead of having one word for “brother” and another for “sister,” they have one word for “older sibling” and another for “younger sibling.” There is a generic word that means “male relative,” but I’ve pretty much only heard that one in church when they talk about your “brothers and sisters in Christ.” In the Jula Bible translation, it talks about “Peter and his little brother Andrew” and “James and his little brother John,” using advice from other Bible translators and scholars to decide which one they believed was older and younger.
I was worried that My Language would be like that as well, and we’d have to put everything into “older” and “younger” categories. And actually, that is usually how they refer to siblings – my “olders” and my “youngers.” You can say, “my older who is a girl” or my “my younger who is a boy,” but normally you just refer to olders and youngers.
However, there is good news for the future Bible translation into My Language: there is a word for “brother” as well! It is “keyᴐ.” (Think “kay-yo.”) That means that when I get around to translating about people like James and John or Peter and Andrew, I can just call them each other’s “keyᴐ”s and don’t have to worry about who is older and who is younger. Yay!