Finding the right balance between a stilted word by word translation and one that is accurate but understandable is difficult. One of the most famous translators in the Church, St. Jerome complained, “If I translate word by word, it sounds absurd, if I am forced to change something in the word order or style, I seem to have stopped being a translator.”
The Church has done several things to help facilitate a new translation of the Roman Missal. First they changed the membership of the international committee responsible for the English translations, second the Vatican issued a new foundational document entitled Liturgiam authenticam (or the authentic Liturgy) which gives specific guidelines for translation, and finally an executive committee of cardinals and bishops was set up to supervise the whole project.
Some of the new principles or guidelines include translating the original Latin faithfully without omissions or additions. Using language that is understandable yet preserves dignity and beauty. Using language that is precise and doctrinally sound and avoiding anything that is trendy. One interesting point is that the new text is deliberately translated so that it will be suitable for singing and the new liturgical books will give priority to the chanting of the Mass.
See a summary of major principles of Liturgiam Authenticam in plainer language here.
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