Lost in Translation

A major problem that faces almost every canonist from an English speaking country, is the language barrier.  Latin is still the official language of the Roman Catholic Church and as time goes by, it is becoming more and more of a problem for canonists without a working knowledge or better in Latin.  Everything is first and foremost, published in Latin, but help is on the way.  The Canon Law Society of America is taking this problem on in full force.  It has named a special Task Force for the Translation of Latin and Italian documents.  This Task Force was formed this month and is chaired by Meg Romano-Hogan, who studied canon law at the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas in Rome, Italy.  The mandate to the Task Force is that within 12 hours of the appearance of Vatican documents that do not have a simultaneous English translation, Meg as Chair, names a select group of this Task Force to a committee to produce a translation quam primum. 

This could end up being one of the most valuable resources available to all English-speaking canonists.  No more waiting around by so many in the hopes someone on the listserv will be kind enough and fast enough to get the Holy See’s documents into English.  These are not going to have the same weight as the official Vatican translation, of course, but if the document is not released with an official English version, it could be weeks or even months before the Holy See takes pity on those not proficient enough in Latin to do the work necessary as quickly as possible.  Best Wishes to Meg in this very important undertaking.

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