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Divine Office Forum: different translations

by Catherine Frakas 03 Apr 2002

different translations QUESTION from Huub August 23, 2001 Dear brother, Since I'm living in Holland, I use the Dutch version of the Liturgy of the Hours (this consists of a 1 volume book and about 16 booklets with the 2 year cycle of readings.
Here is my question: what is the difference between the English and the American editions of the LOH? Do they use different bible translations?
Thank you for youw answer.
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, OLSM on August 28, 2001 Dear Mr. Huub:
Approved translations do not differ that much in substance. There will be differences in syntax, style, word usage, etc., as different translators bring their own linguistic styles and notions to bear upon their translations. But the beauty of the Catholic Church is that we have an authority to guard translations from being incorrect in substance. Language forms can differ, but the substance of the meaning of the translation compared the meaning of the original language must be protected. This is why the Church must approve translations of liturigcal texts.
For most of the English-speaking world, the translation into English that is authorized is the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL) translation of the Divine Office.
While most of the text of the Divine Office in English is translated by the ICEL, some portions of the text the ICEL borrowed from other translators. For example also used in the texts are quotations from the 1970 edition of the New American Bible translated by the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Psalms texts (except Psalm 95) come from the 1963 Grail Translation (England), and the Te Deum, Magnificat, Nunc Dimittis, Benedictus, and Doxology were translated by the International Consultation on English Texts.
The edition I speaks of here is the edition of the Divine Office aproved by the Episcopal Conferences of The Antilles, Bangladesh, Burma, Canada, of the Pacific CEPAC (Fiji Islands, Rarotonga, Samoa and Tokelau, Tonga), Ghana, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea and The Solomons, The Philippines, Rodesia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Uganda, and the United States.
In England I think the Grail Translation is used. I don't know what translation is approved for Holland. It is probably the Grail Translation from England.
Since approved translations have been vetted by the Vatican, we really don't need to worry too much about the translation. But one does need to use the authorized translation for their respective country.
Citizens of these countries listed above, for example, when using an English translation must use ICEL edition.
Citizens of other countries must use the translation that is approved by their Episcopal Conference.
In situations of a person who is a citizen of one country but living in another country, has a choice I think. For example, if you are an American Citizen living in Holland, it would be appropriate I believe to use the ICEL Edition authorized for the dioceses of the U.S., or the edition approved for Holland.
If the intention, however, is to permanently live in Holland and never return to the U.S. (assuming you are a U.S. citizen) then probably using the edition authorized for Holland would make the most sense.
And of course, using this same exmaple, if an American Citizen gave up his citizenship and became a citizen of Holland, then he would be no different than any other Hollander and must use the translation approved for Holland.
Clear as Mud? :-)
But in term of translations themselves, as long as we are using an approved translation we need not worry; just use the translation that is appropriate for your domicile.
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