Lost in Translation

I have said elsewhere that the biblical translations from the liturgy of the hours are sometimes…hollow.  Today is a case in point.  It says:

Never let evil talk pass your lips; say only the good things men need to hear, things that will really help them.  Do nothing that will sadden the Holy Spirit with whom you were sealed against the day of redemption.

The RSV states:

Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for edifying, as fits the occasion, that it may impart grace to those who hear.  And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, in whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

My initial reaction, prior to reading the RSV, was to the part about making the Holy Spirit sad.  Oh, poor, poor Holy Spirit, turn that frown upside down, lil’ buddy.  Also the part about saying the “things that will really help them.”  But what about the things that will really, really, really help them?  Are we not to mention those?  But now upon closer inspection, I see that they completely axed the part about the impartation of grace.  And the part about the edification being timely.  And the non-RSV translation is, besides laughably inaccurate, just plain limp.  Lame.  Vacuous.  Weak.  It has no spine, like a wet noodle.  Ironically, it cannot impart grace, as it is graceless. 

Is this what they mean by “dynamic equivalence”?  Is this the mealy-mouthed noodleosity that Bishop Trautman and his cronies were fighting for in the Mass translation?  Are these words like “edifying” and “grace” and “mouths” (???) examples of the big words the Most Educated Generation of Lay Catholics Ever cannot be expected to understand?  Fie!!!  I call your “edifying” and raise you a “gibbet”, lil’ buddy.  Thank God the ’70s are over for most of us.

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~ by Rob on January 15, 2010.

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