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“Providing For Homosexuals” – A hijacked translation?

You might have heard that a Vatican Synod on the Family document that originally referred to “welcoming homosexual persons” was re-translated as “providing for homosexual persons”, along with other changes that downplayed the welcoming attitude of the first document. This is a link to the original Italian. If you’re like me, a non-Italian speaker, I encourage you to find an Italian dictionary like the one available to Alaskans through Oxford Premium Reference. This can help you make up your own mind about whether this document was translated well the second time.

I doubt it, just from looking at the header “Accogliere le persone omosessuali” in the Italian. The original translation rendered this as “Welcoming homosexual persons.” The re-translation rendered it as “Providing for homosexual persons.” I checked two Italian dictionaries plus Google Translate. All provided “Welcome(ing) as a preferred translation of Accogliere. One could get to “Providing for” by using the FIFTH option for Accogliere from italian.about.com which is “Accommodate” and then say “Accommodate” is like “Providing for” but that feels like a tortured translation to me.

I also looked at the Pocket Oxford Italian Dictionary: Italian-English (4 ed.) and it offered receive; (con piacere) welcome; (contenere) hold, none of which seem amenable to being changed to “Providing for”

If someone wants to cite a more authoritative dictionary, I’m willing to listen. Until then I feel like the re-translation is an effort by conservative English speaking bishops to blunt the language of Rome.


5 Responses

  1. Good work, Daniel.

  2. i can confirm that the translation was “hijacked”. I translate from Italian to English for a living. Many of the other possible translations of the verb “accogliere” are equally positive: receive, admit, let in, accept, shelter, harbor, include. None of the possible translations for “provide” in Italian appear as synonyms for “accogliere”.

  3. Thanks for stopping by! Do you have thoughts on any other part of the document?

  4. You’re welcome. I really didn’t look at the rest of the document, just the “hijacked” part. Scanning it, it seems to be more open and more willing to at least acknowledge the problems of today – sort of like Pope Francis seems to be. The main focus is on families, rather than individuals.

  5. I can confirm bis’s translation. The verb in question is to welcome. But the other thing about paragraph 50 is that, to me, the positive thoughts are posed as questions – can we be welcoming, can we find room for them? I did not see definitive, positive guidelines in the other paragraphs.

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