unfoldingWord® Translation Notes https://www.unfoldingword.org/utn/
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Genesis 01 General Notes

Structure and formatting

This chapter presents the first account of God creating the world. There is a pattern to this account: "God said ... God saw that it was good ... This was evening and morning, the first day." Translators should preserve this pattern in their versions.

Special concepts in this chapter

The universe

This account of creation is told within the framework of ancient Hebrew ideas about the universe: the earth was resting with water around it and below it. Over the earth was something like a vast dome, called "an expanse between the waters" (1:6), on top of which was more water. Translators should try to keep these original images in their work, even though readers in their project language might have a completely different idea of what the universe is like.

Evening and morning

Genesis 1 presents the ancient Hebrew idea of a day: it begins with sunset, lasts through the night and continues through the daylight hours until the next sunset. This pattern should be preserved in translation, even if readers in the project language define "day" differently.

Other possible translation difficulties in this chapter

"God said, 'Let there be'"

This expression occurs often in this chapter. It can be difficult to translate, because God is not shown as talking to a particular person. If God is talking to a thing, it is something not yet in existence. Translators should find the most natural way in the project language to signal the idea that God spoke things into existence; he created the world and the things in it by simply commanding that they should exist.

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