mardi 19 mars 2013

Who said translation wasn't dangerous?

A translation error with serious consequences...

From The Meming of Life blog:
"[...] The Vatican came to accept evolution the same way it agreed that Galileo deserved an apology - glacially and partially. [...]

In an address to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences in 1996, John Paul II [said]:

Aujourd'hui, près d'un demi-siècle après la parution de l'encyclique, de nouvelles connaissances conduisent à reconnaître dans la théorie de l'évolution plus qu'une hypothèse.

Like all major papal holdings-forth, the October 22 address was translated into several other languages. The English language edition of L'Osservatore Romano, the papal paper, translated it like so:

Today, more than a half-century after the appearance of that encyclical, some new findings lead us toward the recognition of more than one hypothesis within the theory of evolution.

Somebody diddled with the Pope! [And there are actually two major errors in this translation: près de translated as more than instead of almost, on top of the "more than one...". -KL]

The difference is huge. If the pope says "[there is] more than one hypothesis within the theory of evolution," that's a yawn. If he says "Evolution [is] more than an hypothesis," that's an earthquake.

A correction appeared three weeks later. But you know how that is. The faithful worldwide jumped on whichever translation they preferred. Some major media stories even got it backwards, claiming that "more than an hypothesis" was the original error, and that "more than one hypothesis" was the correction. Answers in Genesis and other creationist organizations accepted the correct translation as evidence against the Catholic church.

That's all the expected gum flapping, none of it as interesting as the initial act of mistranslation.

In the correction, the English edition editor explained that they had taken an "overly literal" translation of the French text. But one enterprising media outlet ran the text by four French language experts, none of whom saw any possible reading other than "evolution [is] more than an hypothesis."

Aucun commentaire:

Publier un commentaire