Translating the faith

Translators and garblers

Chinese translators and Smithsonian Institution label-writers can be garblers. Let me illustrate: Soli Deo Gloria, an adventuresome group on whose board I have served, charters and sees to the performance of a major new choral work each year. It also sponsors an annual choral-orchestral concert in China. John Nelson, who conducts, brought back the program for his German Requiem by Brahms. The words were translated by Bright Sheng, who, they tell me, did well enough with his task; if there are inelegancies, they are no worse than ours when we translate Chinese into English.


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