Skip to comments.Lost in Translation (from Latin)? [Pope Tweets in Latin]
Posted on 01/21/2013 9:47:30 AM PST by marshmallow
Pope Benedict XVI sent out his first tweet in Latin today. Lessons in Latin now follow.
The Pope finally sent out his first tweet in Latin from his Twitter account @Pontifex_ln on Sunday, January 20, 2013: Unitati christifidelium integre studentes quid iubet Dominus? Orare semper, iustitiam factitare, amare probitatem, humiles Secum ambulare.
The Pope immediately followed it up with translations into the languages of his other Twitter accounts. He translated the Latin via his English language account @Pontifex this way: What does the Lord ask of us as we work for Christian unity? To pray constantly, do justice, love goodness, and walk humbly with Him.
But the news service Reuters performed a valuable service by quoting the University of Cambridge scholar Tamer Nawar, who teased out a more nuanced translation of the Latin: What does the Lord command to those wholly eager for the unity of those following Christ? To always pray, to continually do justice, to love uprightness, to walk humbly with Him.
True, Nawars translation sounds more clunky in English than the Popes English tweet. But it certainly exhibits an appreciation of all the subtlety packed into the Latin tweet. For me, it demonstrates why knowledge of Latin is indispensable. Namely, that it can help one become attuned to subtleties and nuances of thought that would otherwise be missed.
Perhaps my favorite part of the Popes inaugural Latin tweet is his use of the verb factitare in relation to justice, since factitare has the connotation of to make or do frequently; to be wont to make or do; to practice.
Indeed, Im very happy with the Popes first Latin tweet, but I was in a bit of a sour mood because of the press coverage leading up to it. That coverage had me wishing for the impossible, that the Popes first Latin....
(Excerpt) Read more at catholicworldreport.com ...
So in an age where he is charged with saving as many souls as possible, the world is going to spend it’s time picking his Latin grammar apart. Sheeesh!
Ah, Reuters. Tamer Nawar? Egyptian, I would assume. Well, perhaps she’s a Copt. In any case, she’s probably not a native speaker of English, and why Reuters asked her for a translation, I can’t imagine.
However, leaving aside the quality of the translations, I think this is great.
It’s translated immediately. Are you one of the Nuns on the Bus, perchance?
Here’s another tweet in Latin from the Pope:
@Pontifex_ln Islam delenda est.
“Romanes eunt domus?” No, no, no, “Romani ite domum!”
I’m one of those insane people who thinks the Good News needs to be preached to the people in a language they actually speak and understand.
Totally crazy, I know. I suppose that’s why Jesus spoke to his Apostles in Navajo.
Maybe Reuters should have gone to Oxford for a Latinist who would not come up with split infinitives in the English version.
There are two Tamars in the Bible, both women--the daughter-in-law of Judah and a daughter of King David, a full sister of Absalom, who is raped by her half-brother Amnon. In the Septuagint the first consonant is a theta so sometimes the name is rendered as Thamar in English. In the Septuagint the second Tamar's first vowel is an eta so "Themar" would be a closer transliteration.
Among Catholics that would then be most likely Spanish.
(I tried to find a language distribution among Catholics but the closest I came up with was percentage of Catholics in various countries and a lot of the big ones were in Latin America).
No one is *preaching* to us in Latin. Latin is just the fixed texts of the liturgy and prayer. The Gospels are (re)read in English, the preaching/homily is English, and most people read the Scriptures in English.
Anyway, you pick Latin up after a while. I pray in it all the time, and I know exactly what I’m saying.
No-one’s arguing anything else, Buckeye. But that doesn’t mean that a more nuanced translation, or being able to understand it in the language spoken, doesn’t add to the experience.
Keep in mind that the official language of the Roman Empire was Latin, and Jesus spoke Hebrew, but the authors of the New Testament chose the language of the Septuagint, Greek, to write in.
OK, thanks for that great explanation. That makes sense. I thought it was a transliteration of what is normally spelled as Tamar (in US English), which is usually a woman’s name.
But you’re right...why didn’t Reuters come up with a Latinist who was a native speaker of English and understood the implications (aka, “nuances”) and resulting grammatical requirements of the translation?
That's why the 'preach in their own language' argument is always bogus. The "preach" part already is in their (our) own language.
The two languages closest to late Latin are Romanian ... and Spanish.
There have been some changes because Peninsular Spanish is French-influenced, and Latin American Spanish is heavily influenced by English.
No obstante (nevertheless), Spanish is much closer to Latin than is Italian. Spain was a colony of Rome and sometimes the colonies are more conservative than the mother country.
Note that this is on twitter — you can instantly translate it if you want. Also, a language they understand — most of the world does not understand English either.