Muhammad Habib Shakir: And when a party of them said: Why do you admonish a with a severe chastisement? They said: To be free from blame before your Lord, and that haply they may guard (against evil).
Abdullah Yusuf Ali: When some of them said: "Why do ye preach to a people whom Allah will destroy or visit with a terrible punishment?"- said the preachers:" To discharge our duty to your Lord, and perchance they may fear Him."
M.Pickthall: And when a community among them said: Why preach ye to a folk whom Allah is about to destroy or punish with an awful doom, they said: In order to be free from guilt before your Lord, and that haply they may ward off (evil).
Amatul Rahmân Omer: And (ask them what happened to those people) when a section from amongst them said (to another section), `Why do you admonish a people whom Allâh is going to destroy completely, or whom He is going to punish with a severe punishment?´ They answered, `We do it so that it may serve as an excuse (to be absolved from blame) before your Lord and that they may become secure (against the punishment).´
Maulana Mohammad Ali: And ask them about the town which stood by the sea. When they violated the Sabbath, when their fish came to them on their Sabbath day on the surface, and when it was not their Sabbath they came not to them. Thus did We try them because they transgressed.