Catholic Culture Liturgical Living
Catholic Culture Liturgical Living

Found in Translation: Blessing our WHAT-ness?

By Diogenes ( articles ) | Jan 17, 2005

You all know how Google Roulette works. You go to Google's translation engine here, and type any English sentence into the text box (lets use, "Beam me up, Scotty"). Then you select, say, English-to-French from the options menu and hit TRANSLATE. This gives you rayonnez-moi vers le haut de scotty. You copy this and paste rayonnez moi vers le haut de scotty back into the text box, and select French-to-English this time. You get back "Radiate me to the top of Scotty." I think that's how ICEL got started.

In an attempt to make sense of otherwise impenetrable prose, I turned to Google to decipher the weird pagan hymn to the winds with which the Archdiocese of San Francisco -- still a Roman Catholic entity as of its 2003 tax filing -- has gifted us. I think you'll agree little of spiritual value is lost in translation:

Hymn: May the deep peace of community arise from within us, drawing us ever nearer, speaking to us of unity, true community where distinctions of persons is also oneness in being.

From the German: For May develop draw the deep peace of the community out within us and at all close us and speak with us the unit, applicable community, in which distinctions of the persons also unity its is with its.

From the Chinese:In May society the area deep peace appears from in our heart, approached us ever, the conversation and the person distinguished and is the unity in is inside we unites, real society area.

From the Korean: The May community deep peace happened from inside us and B, us nearly it is stimulated until now, in the place the distinction of the person and inside being it talked to us of the community where vivid, the unity which is a oneness, is.

Note to President Clinton: I think we now know what the meaning of is, is.

Hymn: Quicken us, draw us by the urgings of your warm breath to break through the soil of our own barrenness and fear. Teach us to hold sacred the memory of the spring rains that we might have the strength to withstand the heat of the day, and not become parched and narrow in our love.

From the Portuguese: Quicken in, extracts us for urgings of its breath morna to the rupture through the ground of our proper barrenness and fear. The memory of rains of the spring teaches to us to arrest sacred that we could have the force to support the heat of the day, and not to become roasted and straits in our love.

From the Japanese: Early do us, in the urgings of the breath where you are warm, pulling come through our itself barrenness and the earth of fear to the ? ? being broken eye. The causing ? which possesses the strength which we keep and with our love the parched, resist the heat of day narrowly thing us who are not, memory of the holy spring rain and others it is not the sea urchin teach.

From the Korean: Under quickening boil us, in the side of the urgings of the suction which you is warm in the gap be stimulated in the soil of our specific barrenness and fear. We will catch, inside our loving it stops completely, it is narrow and ten of work that it has the strength which resists us memory of the new star one spring rain, it does not become, teach.

It's hard to avoid the conclusion that the Koreans are on to the game; in almost every case they improve on the original. I leave you with our Seoul brothers' antiphon to the Spirit of the North:

May mercy when beckoning us it will listen to us, it forgived, us in us deep peace, it encouraged. And in constant temperature the Q-bedspread which forgives a fear our readiness.


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