Sunday, January 30, 2011


Where's the Latin?

This is the English translation of the Latin Opening Collect (prayer) in the 1973 Roman Missal. For this missal the Vatican allowed the translation to be what is called an "equivalent" translation even allowing for paraphrasing and ordinary, everyday speak for these prayers in English:

Lord our God,
help us to love you with all our hearts
and to love all men as you love them.

Father Z's slavishly, word for word translation from the original Latin striving to use English words that mean what the Latin means:

Grant us, O Lord our God,
that we may venerate you with our whole mind,
and may love all men with rational good-will.

The new and improved English translation coming a year from today. While the English translation is not slavishly literal, which would be unwise in terms of English sensibilities, it does follow what the Vatican asked English translators to do--to be faithful to the meaning of the original Latin and to be less "street-speak" in the English language:

Grant us, Lord our God,
that we may honor you with all our mind,
and love everyone in truth of heart.


Gene said...

I sort of like the "with rational good will." It acknowledges that there is a limit...that there are those for whom "love" is not a rational option...that there are, indeed, evil people.

JJD said...

In this instance, I say the slavish translation is clearer and even more beautiful. What more could one want?

SqueekerLamb said...

I also say that the slavishly translated is far more clearer.
In this case, the street-talk is better than the upcoming translation, but totally different, in a bad way, from the slavishly translated.
Like pin, I thought that the "with rational good will" acknowledges that there's a limit..I had the exact same sentiment.

What a relief to learn what was actually meant by the words of the prayer!

SqueekerLamb said...

what does 'love everyone with truth of heart" mean???

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Praying "rational good will" leaves me wondering what that means. While the new prayer isn't perfect, sometimes it isn't easy to translate from another language a word that doesn't appear in English precisely as the Latin word intends. That happens in Italian too. I can understand Italian and when I interpret it for someone I am very literal. It drives me crazy, though, when I watch Italian movies in Italian with English captions, because the captions are an equivalency that doesn't do the Italian justice. Sometimes it is totally different. Then there are concepts in Italian that you simply can't translate into English.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

For example, in Italian the term "che bella figura" could be translated into "what a pretty or nice figure." But more often in Italian it is used in a derogatory way to point out how someone's disposition or actions are really despicable. Really what an Italian means is what an awful figure. It's kind of like when a teenager says, "that's bad," meaning a car or something, and he really means that's good. Or that's cool, which means that it's neat, but do all of these really mean what the English implies in the literal sense? NO! Cool, yes?

Templar said...

I like the use of the word venerate in the literal prayer versus honor in the new translation, and way more than "love" in the 1963 version.

(why is everything in the 70s so...well, lennon-esque? Love, love, love...I hate to be on record as being against Love but enough already).

Anyway, venerate says so much more to me than honor. I honor a valedictorian, but God I venerate. These are two completely different things.

I am in the literal camp. If we must use vernacular language let us translate it literal unless that is impossible to do, and only then go for "faithful to the meaning".

Anonymous said...

So is the new translation using inclusive language?

Gene said...

Literal:"Tiger, tiger burning bright
In the forest of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry."

Vernacular: "Hey, Dude, check out that tiger."