;   Medical Translation Insight: Latin is alive and well, thanks to the Catholic church - ForeignExchange Translations

Latin is alive and well, thanks to the Catholic churchWe don't see much call for Latin translations these days. But rumors of that language's death have been greatly exaggerated. This year, the U.S. Catholic church is giving translators and publishers a lot of work as they set out to revise the existing English translations of the original Latin Catholic Missal. The current Missal, which guides Catholics through the prayers in a Mass, is based on translations done in the 1960s. Sentiments in the Church are that those translations were rushed and not accurate to the tone originally intended.

But the move to re-translate is not without debate. Some bishops and church experts feel that the new translation is too literal and the altered wording doesn't reflect the teaching of Jesus, who spoke in the "tongue of the common person" which the existing translation is thought to do. Regardless, the new translation will have a wide impact, affecting every Catholic in the U.S., many of whom have gotten accustomed to reciting prayer responses from rote memory. For example, instead of responding with, "And also with you," to the priest's, "May the Lord be with you," worshipers will say, "And with your spirit," according to the new translation.

Aside from worshipers, and the diocese who must educate them, the new translations are a challenge to publishers of the Missals used in churches as well as the linguists who are carefully poring over the Latin phrasing, teasing out its most accurate English meaning. The deadline for the new Missal is the first Sunday of Advent next year, which falls on November 27th, 2011. To all affected, we say, "may God have mercy on your souls."

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