Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Critiquing the new translation alongside earlier ones

I'm still reading Anscar Chupungco's critique of the official English translation of Eucharistic Prayer for Reconciliation I:
ICEL2010 takes liberty with the Latin text in unum corpus congregentur in Christo, a quo omnis auferatur divisio, whose literal meaning is: “they may be gathered into one Body in Christ, from which may every division be {482} removed.” It is obvious that a quo refers to corpus, not to Christo. There can be no division in Christ in the first place. (A Commentary on the Order of Mass, pp. 481-482)
That is a good literal translation of the Latin provided by Fr. Chupungco (a Benedictine monk). The English text he is critiquing, from the new English translation of the Roman Missal, is "they may be gathered into one Body in Christ who heals every division." He goes on to say:
The Latin text does not say that Christ “heals” every division. The verb “to heal” is not a dynamic equivalent, much less a literal translation of auferatur. What is prayed for is that all division be eliminated from the community, the body gathered into one in Christ. (Ibid, p. 482)
He has a valid point here. The verb auferre means generally "to remove". It appears in a penitential prayer of the Extraordinary Form of the Mass (commonly called the Tridentine Mass), aufer a nobis... ("Take away our iniquities from us...").

I wonder, though, why here in the commentary on translation, mention is not made of earlier translations (e.g. 1975 and 1998) of the same Latin text; comparing the 2010 text to earlier translations happens quite frequently in this particular commentary. The two earlier translations I have noted (1975 and 1998) employed dynamic equivalency, and yet they rendered the phrase in question as "healed of all division" and "in whom all divisions are healed". Perhaps this is why a comparison or remark is absent.

While Fr. Chupungco is correct that "healed" does not translate (literally or dynamically) auferatur, I would dare to suggest that "healed of all division(s)" does dynamically (though not quite literally) translate omnis auferatur divisio. For, in this case, the divisions are in a body, a body which is meant to be perfectly united, perfectly one, utterly undivided. The removal, therefore, of divisions in this body appropriately be called "healing".

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