A regular reader of Pray Tell (OK, I admit, he’s a confrere in my monastery) writes the following:
I recently had a conversation about how hard the new translations will be for the laity to understand. So, as an experiment, I downloaded the 4 new Eucharistic Prayers into four separate Word documents. I deleted all of the rubrics, so that it was only what the people hear and then did a grammar check.
Word provides the Flesch Reading Ease and Flesch-Kincaide Grade Level. The Reading Ease goes from easiest at 100 to hardest at 0. 100-90 is easily understandable by an average 11 year old student. The Grade Level measures both the complexity of the sentence structures and the difficulty of the vocabulary. It then estimates what grade a student must be in to understand it. I put both at the Standard setting so that the measure was for neither informal writing nor academic writing.
Eucharistic Prayer 1: Reading Ease 89.9 Grade Level: 1.9
Eucharistic Prayer 2: Reading Ease 92.6 Grade Level: 1.6
Eucharistic Prayer 3: Reading Ease 90 Grade Level :2
(It has the most passive sentences).
Eucharistic Prayer 4: Reading Ease 92.2 Grade Level: 1.6
So, by these estimates all of the prayers can be easily understood by an average 11 year old and, indeed, is not beyond a normal American second grader.
Since, we are told that the current generations of Catholics are the best educated in our history, one hopes that they can manage these translations!