Liturgiam Authenticam 32-33

Some final bits as we wrap up thoughts on general translation principles:

32. The translation should not restrict the full sense of the original text within narrower limits. To be avoided on this account are expressions characteristic of commercial publicity, political or ideological programs, passing fashions, and those which are subject to regional variations or ambiguities in meaning. Academic style manuals or similar works, since they sometimes give way to such tendencies, are not to be considered standards for liturgical translation. On the other hand, works that are commonly considered “classics” in a given vernacular language may prove useful in providing a suitable standard for its vocabulary and usage.

33. The use of capitalization in the liturgical texts of the Latin editiones typicae as well as in the liturgical translation of the Sacred Scriptures, for honorific or otherwise theologically significant reasons, is to be retained in the vernacular language at least insofar as the structure of a given language permits.

Capitalization is an interesting separate issue raised, especially in light of LA 32. First, liturgical texts are primarily an aural/oral tradition. I don’t know how caps are communicated in speech. A slight pause, perhaps?

It might be seen that a plunge into capitalization is itself a political fad. If a vernacular language is moving away from it, what’s the sense in introducing it? Do the clergy need reinforcement on the doctrine of upper case?

And finally, the various versions of the English MR3 have shown an uneven application of capital letters. ICEL, Vox Clara, or Msgr Moroney don’t seem to have read up on their 2007 ratio translationis. It all seems rather arbitrary–which strikes me as counter to this church document, not to mention the whole thrust of post-conciliar liturgy.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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