Tuesday, January 11, 2011

New Translation Tuesday: Compassion and Gratitude

Welcome to this installment of "New Translation Tuesday."

I apologize for not having posted in the last several days. I was "on the road again" and weather has been having its effects on my travel. It is also that time of year in publishing houses when we calculate our royalty payments to our composers and copyright owners of the texts we publish. It can be an especially harrowing time but, as always, we will get through it all.

Currently, it is snowing heavily here in Chicago; I got to work early, before the heavy snow began to fall, so missed what looks like a very challenging commute for most of the employees here at WLP. Saying a prayer now for their safety . . .

Now that the final texts of The Roman Missal have been received here at WLP, we are trying to work as quickly as possible to make sure that all of our resources are on track. Father Paul Turner is working diligently on his Pastoral Companion to the Roman Missal. All of the various changes in the text (2008) necessitated a revision of the book, which was largely complete. We should be seeing the final corrections from Father Turner within the next few weeks.

Today, I want to offer my sincerest Christian compassion to the people at ICEL, and those scholars who have worked with ICEL to hammer out the translation. I do this because of comments I have received as a publisher. When I have described how we have had to go back to the drawing board, at significant cost, with many of our resources—due to the changes in the translation—people have said things to me like, "I really feel sorry for you publishers," or "You folks have really been put through the wringer." I always respond by saying that we are here to serve the singing and praying Church. But the Church that we are committed to serve—at least institutionally—is operating in ways that are unlike the past. I have to be honest and say that as we move into the future, I will need to be much more cautious, much more skeptical when the institution puts a stamp of approval on a liturgical document; and perhaps this, in the end, will be the wisest move. I think what publishers have gone through is nothing like what those who worked for years on this translation must be going through. Those priests, bishops, scholars, secretaries, translators, chant experts worked on behalf of all of us in the English-speaking world. Many of these people I hold in the deepest respect and admiration. I, for one, will always feel a sense of gratitude for their work, which has been much more intense and much more involved than the work that a publisher does. Along with that sentiment comes a sense of disappointment with this whole process.

But, the work must go on. I am trying my best to keep my chin up and plow ahead. Sometimes that is pretty challenging.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

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