Tuesday, 22 June 2010

The revised new ICEL translation

When ICEL (or, rather the Episcopal Conferences for whom ICEL worked—see comments) presented the new version to the Holy Father a few weeks ago, I gather that twenty copies were made and distributed to various dignitaries. In these copies, it was apparent that Rome has made quite substantial alterations to the 2008 ICEL text for the Missal, not just to the propers (collects and all that), but also to the ordinary. The long line of 'ands' in the Credo will, it is said, be replaced with further 'I believes' (this would seem to be a good thing). On the other hand, there is a rumour doing the rounds that 'we praise you' in the Gloria is to be replaced with 'we laud you'. I do hope that this is false. Deliberate archaism is not a tool of good translation; a word fallen out of usage should surely only be used if there is not a more common synonym. Otherwise, we should simply bite the bullet and use thee and thou again.

I hear rumours also that there are different versions of the final text circulating: this might suggest that there will be regional variations (such as we have in the current version of the Credo, where our version differs slightly from the American).

Looking at those collects in posts below, in each case I think that the revisions have made better collects than 2008 did, and if this also be the case with the ordinary, then perhaps I am worrying needlessly, and will actually think that they have improved things.

But nonetheless, something that is certainly taking place is that musicians have laid down their pens, because we simply don't know what will emerge as the final version. Perhaps in some cases this is a good thing, but not in others. It certainly means that if the texts of, say the Gloria and Sanctus are considerably altered, the music we will be singing in a few months' time will have been hurriedly produced, and that is rarely a good thing (for not all musicians are Rossinis).

8 comments:

Joshua said...

Do you have any further information, Father?

Pastor in Valle said...

Not at present.

Dominic Mary said...

I'm not quite convinced that the intoduction of additional 'I believes' into the Creed is a good idea : they aren't there in the Latin, after all, and I thought the basic idea was to produce a more accurate translation.

Tom said...

Presumably this presents a problem for James MacMillan, who is reportedly writing a new setting of the new texts of the Ordinary for the forthcoming visit of the Holy Father.

Moreover, one wonders what this says about the recognitio given to the Ordo Missae some while ago? When is a recognitio not a recognitio?

While I agree that it is better to get it right, the continued delays in publishing the final text does not augur well for introducing the seemingly necessary catechesis (based on the recognitio text?) which is apparantly being prepared.

Fr PF said...

Dominic Mary,
Cicero and his contemporaries didn't use punctuation marks, but we do when we translate their Latin texts. Accurate translation is not produced by translating word-for-word. Monsignor Ronald Knox ("On Englishing the Bible") said that the question is not "how do I say that in English?" but "how would an English-speaking person say that?".

PCJ said...

You stated "When ICEL presented the new version to the Holy Father a few weeks ago, I gather that twenty copies were made and distributed to various dignitaries."

ICEL did not present the new version to the Holy Father. I know because I was one of the "dignitaries" present who received a copy.

Please note that ICEL prepares texts at the request of the Bishops Conferences that established it and fund it. Once the Bishops Conference have accepted and approved the text ICEL is out of the equation and the text becomes the responsibility of the Episcopal Conference and any observations of any kind should then be addressed to the Conference and not to ICEL.

Hope this does not sound like a lecture, it is not meant to be, rather a fraternal clarification.

Prayerful good wishes.

Delia said...

I think 'laud' is an Americanism in current use; at least, it seems to crop up fairly frequently in American texts.

Anonymous said...

So it wasn't ICEL that presented the Moroney Missal to the Holy Father. Then who was it? And why?