“You’re enough to try the patience of an oyster!”
From Reader #5 (our refined Southwestern angling correspondent)
Would not a Carroll enthusiast, logically speaking, opine that this chapter comes out of order? Should it not, using strict Thomistic logic, have followed “The Pool of Tears”? Are some of us Readers so acutely affected such that it all comes different? By no means is there a contradiction of our principles of narration, but there was talk about the necessity of using a drôle line as the epigraph for my sole post. For today, we have snagged some ichthyological content, to wit, Fr. Cekada’s fishy translations. Indeed, his corrigenda are small fry compared with the other whoppers in Work of Human Hands, but his floundering is plus qu’il n’en faut to rouse the fury of this patient and very well educated lay angler. So, yes, let us hold our noses, put out our stink bate, and net some of the smaller spawn hatched in Fr. Cekada’s stagnant pool of misinformation.
Our first example shows Father’s irritating proclivity to over read and clumsily alter meaning and intention in an original. The defect may be fine for high-school term papers but is unacceptable in the world outside of mom-and-pop vanity-press imprints. On p. 67, we caught the following translation from In Novum Codicem Rubricarum:
…the text of the rubrics already edited down to a simpler and systematic form would certainly make many decisions of the Council Fathers much easier.
For would…make, the Latin text given in footnote 66 reads reddet, a future indicative, which must accordingly be translated will make. For many, the Latin has nonnullas (lit. ‘not no’), which means ‘some,’ ‘several,’ ‘a number of,’ ‘not a little,’ or ‘not a few’ but never ‘many.’ The adverb much is a completely unwarranted nuance absent from the original, for the Latin gives only the simple comparative adjective faciliores ‘easier’; had Braga meant to say “much easier,” he would have added multo (an instrumental ablative to indicate measure of difference). Accordingly, the line should have read
…the text of the rubrics already reduced to a simpler and systematic form will certainly make not a few decisions of the [Council] Fathers easier.
Yes, that’s how an author writing in 1960 would express himself about decisions then expected to take place starting two years later (Vatican II commenced on October 11, 1962). By the by, we’ve got no real quarrel with Father’s adding the word ‘Council,” which is not in the Latin original; we wish, however, that this “genteel scholar–theologian” had used some typographical device to indicate the editorial interpolation, as we so very elegantly did.
Notwithstanding all our tolerance, we do lose our piscary composure altogether when discernible ignorance of Latin abets mistranslation. On p. 113, Father renders eo (see footnote 36) as “by means of this,” when the adverb really means ‘therefore,’ ‘consequently,’ or ‘for that reason.’ The wrong translation impairs the argumentative coherence of the original and threatens to distort its meaning inasmuch as the reader might think the pronoun this has as its antecedent “grace and assistance” in the previous sentence. Bottom line: Save your patience and throw this indigestible, bottom-feeder of a book back into the fetid swamp.
Vigil of Ss. Peter and Paul