Catholic Culture News
Catholic Culture News

Could you be a liturgical translator?

By Diogenes ( articles ) | Jun 09, 2004

Some time back, a friend held a translation contest. The object of the contest was to provide the best approximation of how liturgical translators (think ICEL) might have rendered the memorable words of the astronaut Neil Armstrong, when he became the first man to step on the moon.

Armstrong's actual words, you will recall, were:

That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.

You couldn't get that sort of "sexist" language past the feminist censors these days.

Contestants submitted the alternatives below. We encourage CWN readers to rate the entries-- or, if they prefer, submit their own.

First the straightforward efforts:

  • That's one small step for me, one giant leap for all of us.
  • One small step for one, one giant leap for all.
  • That's one small step for two legs, one huge leap for all the legs of planet Earth.
  • That's one small individual step, and one giant universal leap.
  • That's one small step for one, one giant leap for everyone.

Some contestants made a more ambitious effort to eliminate not only gender-specific language, but also the constraints of time and place.

  • When someone steps, everybody takes a giant leap.
  • Taking steps is something we all must do in our own time.
  • One relatively insignificant forward advance for a disassociated entity; one meaningful and therefore significant leap for the community.

Finally, there were the full-fledged efforts to render Armstrong the service that liturgical translators have performed for the prayers of the Mass:

  • As often as one of our own kind determines to step forward, even a little, it is credited to our race and we all progress a giant leap forward.
  • I did it for the self-improvement of humans everywhere.

Sound Off! supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a current donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

There are no comments yet for this item.