Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Why we also need a retranslation of the Office

There are some really cool things that happen in Latin that don't come through in English. For instance, note what happens here in Latin.

Responsorium breve
Tu es vas electiónis, * Sancte Paule apóstole. Tu es.
V/. Prædicátor veritátis in univérso mundo. * Sancte Paule apóstole. Glória Patri. Tu es.

Ad Benedictus, ant. Celebrémus conversiónem sancti Pauli apóstoli, quia ex persecutóre efféctus est vas electiónis.

Now in English:


You are a chosen instrument, holy apostle Paul.
You are a chosen instrument, holy apostle Paul.

Preacher of truth to the whole world,
holy apostle Paul.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
You are a chosen instrument, holy apostle Paul.


Ant. Let us celebrate the conversion of Saint Paul the apostle. He was transformed from being a persecutor of Christ into a vessel of his grace.

Note the highlighted terms. The same phrase in Latin (vas electionis) is translated in two different ways in English, neither of which is a literal translation of the Latin. So, you loose the connection between the two. Why?

Then there is this in the Intercessions:
Fratres caríssimi, hereditátem cæléstem ab Apóstolis habéntes....
Now in English:
Beloved friends, we have inherited heaven along with the apostles....
Note that we now inherit heaven along with the Apostles, not from the Apostles. There is a theological point lost here, although the rest of the petitions actually hit home the point that the means of salvation come to us from the Apostles (capital "A").

1 comment:

Bill White said...

Perhaps a private translation into decent English along the lines of the work done by John Crichton-Stuart, the 3rd Marquess of Bute. See http://www.archive.org/search.php?query=creator:%22Bute,+John+Patrick+Crichton-Stuart,+Marquess+of,+1847-1900,+tr%22