September 30, 2009 at 2:22 pm (Uncategorized) (, , )

This little tidbit may have sneaked past you, but last year the Vatican approved a new translation for various parts of the mass. The idea was to bring the English translations (which vary from country to country) in line with each other, and also with the original Latin. So, for example, at some point in the future, when the presider says, “The Lord be with you,” instead of saying “And also with you,” you will say, “And with your spirit.” Yeah, THAT will roll trippingly off the tongue, fellas. And instead of “Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed,” we will be saying, “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.” Wasn’t there anyone with a facility for the English language at work the day they decided on that one? Yikes.

I’ve got a couple of thoughts about this. Firstly, I’m not a translator, but my understanding of that art is that you don’t actually translate word for word. Any yahoo with a dictionary can do that. More important is to convey the sense from one language to another. Secondly, and possibly more importantly, aren’t there some real problems to deal with? War, hunger, poverty, man’s general inhumanity to man and the Church’s response to it? And thirdly, I thought the decision to switch from the Latin mass to the vernacular was to make it more immediate and accessible to the mass-goer. Aren’t we going backwards here?

I SWEAR, those people make it hard to be Catholic sometimes.



  1. Amy said,

    Don’t you think going backwards is their point?

  2. Mike Miller said,

    As it happens, I’m a translator. This Wikipedia article is a pretty good explanation of the different approaches: This excerpt sums it up well: “powerful people who do not understand the nature of translation may insist on formal equivalence because they believe that fidelity to the grammatical structure of the language equals greater accuracy”. That pretty much reflects my experience. One thing that’s unfortunate is that as the IQ and, especially, reading level of the population decreases, they’re raising the bar back to where it was in 1960. I really don’t think “my own grievous fault” is going to be understood nowadays. The “not worthy that you should enter” cracks me up a bit. Sounds kinda Jewish 😀

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