Challenge of Translating “Snow” In Yoruba Bible and Its Influence on Congregational Singing Among Yoruba Christian Worshipers

Gabriel Oyeniyi

Issue: Vol.2  No.1 April 2020 Article 6 pp. 42-49
DOI :    |   Published online 29th April 2020.
© 2020 The Author(s). This is an open access article under the CCBY license (


The word snow in Isaiah 1:18b which was transliterated as sno in the second line of the refrain of the hymn “What Can Wash Away My Sins?” in Yoruba Baptist hymnal poses a challenge of understanding to Yoruba Christians who lacked the expression of snow in the Yoruba language. The Quantitative research method was used with a questionnaire as an instrument of gathering data in Ogbomoso land, Nigeria. Findings revealed that 96% of respondents have never seen snow except on television and in pictures while 4% have physically seen it. 74% of respondents had a different Yoruba word for snow as against 24% which translation corresponds with Bibeli Yoruba. While testing the respondents’ understanding of the transliterated word for snow in The Yoruba hymnal, 32% have a full understanding of the word, 40% partially understood it, 10% have little understanding and 12% did not understand the word at all. It is being recommended that unfamiliar words in the Yoruba hymnal should be contextualized to enable users of the hymnal understand the message of the hymns in context.

Keywords: Translation, snow, Yoruba hymnal, Yoruba

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Gabriel Ademola Oyeniyi, PhD is a Lecturer at the Faculty of Church Music of the Nigerian Baptist Theological Seminary, Ogbomoso, Nigeria. He holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree with specialisation in Composition. He is currently the Director of Student Affairs of the Institution. Email:

Oyeniyi, Gabriel. “Challenge of Translating “Snow” in Yoruba Bible and its Influence on Congregational Singing among Yoruba Christian Worshipers.” Journal of Mother-Tongue Biblical Hermeneutics and Theology 2, no. 1 (2020): 42-49.

© 2020 The Author(s). Published and Maintained by Noyam Publishers. This is an open access article under the CCBY license (