Pray Tell is grateful to America Press for its coverage of the important news concerning the new commission that Pope Francis has established to review and re-evaluate Liturgiam authenticam.

In the January 26 story by Gerard O’Connell, however, we noticed a quote of something which Archbishop Arthur Roche said in 2014, which suggested that our translation principles have changed because dynamic equivalence is now “outmoded”:

He [Archbishop Roche] explained that “dynamic equivalence” was achieved when a translator detached the “content” of an utterance from the “form in which it was expressed.” But this approach has become “outmoded,” he said. Over the last 40 years, specialists in language “have become more aware that the form we choose for an utterance is itself expressive of our purpose in speaking.” The Holy See in “Liturgiam Authenticam” opted for “the formal equivalence,” he stated.

Pray Tell challenged this talking point back in 2011 by consulting a specialist in translation.

In a June 6 post entitled “Academic Justification for Liturgiam Authenticam?”Anthony Pym, President of the European Society for Translation Studies, wrote:

I am asked by the Pray Tell moderator if academic translation theory has changed in recent decades. Without any doubt, it has.

I am asked if the changes support greater literalism, as has been claimed in the debate over 2001 Vatican document Liturgiam authenticam. My answer is a resounding “Huh??

He goes on to describe several schools of thought that have developed in translation theory, but tempers any easy dismissal of “dynamic equivalence” with this summary statement:

Does this mean that we are all reacting against Eugene Nida and his concept of dynamic equivalence, supposedly embodied in the prior doctrine of Comme le prevoit in 1969? Not at all.

You can read the whole thing here.

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