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Monday, July 15, 2024
Synodal Church

Translators’ Workshop for Pastoral Literature

It has been a most wonderful experience to attend the Translators’ Workshop for Pastoral Literature organized by the Office of Social Communication of the Federation of Bishops’ Conferences of Asia (FABC-OSC). I had the privilege of being invited by the Secretary General of our Bishops’ Conference (CRBC) to attend the workshop in order to improve on my ability to better translate pastoral texts related to the life and the mission of the Church. Together with the Fr. Otfried Chan, Secretary General of CRBC, and Ms. Sherry Tao, Secretary of the Youth Section of the CRBC Commission for the Laity, the Family and Youth, we are the three representatives of the Chinese Mandarin language.

The program was intense and fruitful. We have had the chance to learn about the different figures of speech with a specific goal of translating them, and not just knowing them. We saw at times how difficult terms were translated into other languages other than our own. We could also make our contribution by translating into Chinese some special features. However, beyond this, we have greatly benefited from everyday conversations with the participants from other Asian countries. Personally, it has been very edifying to see the mission of the Church being carried out in parts of the world whose social conditions and challenges greatly differ from those of our own. This has helped me to realize how important it is to have the documents of the Holy Father Pope Francis translated into the languages of the native peoples so that they feel encouraged in the challenges they face every day. I have also learnt that some basic texts of the magisterium of the Church are not yet available in many other languages. And it is necessary to have them translated as the Church’s ongoing reform is to be conducted according to the documents of the Council, especially in changing times like ours! This also reminded me of our own context. While we do have the Chinese translation of the documents of the Vatican II since the beginning, nevertheless, many magisterial texts before Vatican II are still unavailable in Chinese. Thus, it is necessary for translators to be well acquainted with these fundamental texts, to know sufficiently the Catholic Faith in order to offer good translation, even for pastoral literatures as the Church is rooted in her Tradition and in her uninterrupted teaching, her only sure guide.

I give thanks to God for giving me this experience and for giving to our Bishops’ Conference a good team, and a good tradition of translating Church documents. We have decent resources at our disposal: glossaries, dictionaries, good examples of translated texts, and many others. All that we need is to find and to train good translators to do the work. We should pray that more young people with good linguistic capacity join in this important service.

The Church is universal both in her nature and in her mission. This is most clearly shown in her birth at the Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles so that they could speak in different tongues. We wish to continue this work as a team, putting into practice this authentic “gift of tongues”, under the guidance and accompaniment of Mary Our Blessed Mother who was present that day at the birth of the Church. May Our Blessed Mother intercede for the Church in Asia, so that linguistic barriers little by little may give way to the shining Light, her Son, who illumines all the peoples walking in darkness.

Chun-Chien (Justin) Wu
Delegate of CRBC

Taipei, June 25, 2024

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