Episode 1: Translating the saints with Carmen Acevedo Butcher

“In letting the documents speak to me, I was able to see that the main message is ‘God is love.’ That’s it.”
March 1, 2022
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Welcome to In Search Of, a podcast where we go in search of voices and perspectives that inform and expand a life of faith. In this episode, host Amy Frykholm speaks with Carmen Acevedo Butcher about the process of translation. Acevedo Butcher is the author of an award-winning translation of the medieval text The Cloud of Unknowing and a recent translation of the writings of the 17th-century Carmelite Brother Lawrence, which she speaks about in this episode.

Join us as we learn why Butcher calls her translation process a practice of embodied mysticism, one that allows her to practice the presence of a God who is love. Together we’ll explore the interconnectedness of translation, prayer, and justice. All this and more on the pilot episode of In Search Of:

Carmen Acevedo Butcher teaches in the writing program at the University of California Berkeley and is the author of translations of The Cloud of Unknowing and Practice of the Presence

Show notes:

  1. You can find the full poem by Rainer Maria Rilke referenced in the introduction in Rilke’s Book of Hours, translated by Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy. 

  2. The Cloud of Unknowing and Practice of the Presence by Carmen Acevedo Butcher (forthcoming August 2022) are available for order and preorder everywhere books are sold. 

  3. Amy’s translation of The Life of Mary of Egypt can be found in her book Wild Woman

  4. Translation resources referenced by Butcher include This Little Art by Kate Briggs, the 1692 Brother Lawrence text, and the Collins French Dictionary.

  5. Read more about the history of Caedmon’s Hymn in this essay from Image journal.

  6. There are many online resources and teaching tools regarding “Person-First Language” like these guidelines from Kansas State University. 

  7. Is there something that you are in search of? Email us.