The goal is to help people connect with God, themselves, and others. To achieve this we will follow a few guidelines. These considerations are for both translation work, and original writing.
All translations are copyright Urban Monasticism. You may freely distribute the Urban Monastic Translations, but you are not permitted to sell it on its own, either in print or electronic format. These translations are to be considered living documents and will change over time to better fulfill their intended purposes.
There is currently no intention to do a full translation of the Bible. Instead our focus is on translating the texts relevant to our monastic activities (specificially for Breviery, and Communion). For the sake of clarity you should reference the Urban Monastic Translation in the language being used.
- Urban Monastic Breviary (UMB-EN)
- Bréviaire Monastique Urbain (BMU-FR)
Additionally we will be translating other texts. These translations beyond the scope of the breviary would be referrenced the following ways:
- Urban Monastic Translation (UMT-EN)
- Traduction Monastique Urbain (TMU-FR)
- Maintain the sentence structure and flow as best as possible with our other goals.
- Prefer more direct and simple language.
- Seek accessible reading levels for the language we’re translating into.
- Adapt gendered language as outlined in our writing guidelines.
- Avoid exclusionary language and use neutral group language.
- Psalms, Antiphons, Prayers, and Canticles should focus on their use with plain-chant, chant-song and singing.
- Not intended for academic study.
- Reference contemporary translations for guidance.
Our translations are based upon the following texts:
- SBL Greek New Testament
- Nova Vulgata
- Liturgia Horarum (©2000 Libreria Editrice Vaticana)
- Septuagint (LXX)
Keep Sentence Structure and Grammar Simple
We are not here to sound smart. We are not here to share complex ideas. We are here to connect with God, and to help others connect with God. While some may be well read, well educated, using our work in their native language, and fully able to read well, others are not as fortunate. Therefore we should seek to write and communicate in a way that is most accessible.
Language and Word Selection
Our intention is to choose language and words which invite people to see themselves in the texts we are translating. There are a few areas in which we need to give specific attention.
There are many words, images, and ideas which to some people may appear harmless, and to others cause harm. The impact of this language would be to exclude those who experience the harm. Therefore we should give attention to avoid exclusionary language which may be racially, ethnically, appropriationally, or otherwise harmful. There is much offense in the high call the scriptures invite us to live into. We should therefore seek to avoid adding additional offense or barriers in our writing.
Many of the terms, titles, and phrases we use all the time are focused on a specific gender – normally male. Since we are open to both sexes we should choose language that reflects that. In this way we help everyone see themselves present in the text in a similar way.
When we find ourselves in a narrative where pronouns are being used to directly reference an individual we should leave them.
Sometimes the gendered word can be removed without changing the meaning of the phrase. “Jesus was born a man” and “Jesus was born” are close enough to be equal for our purposes. We still understand that he shares our experience, that he was a baby, and grew up just like us.
When it is important to the narrative or concept to include a term we prefer to use a non-gendered term. The goal is to ensure that the impact and scope of the text would be the same today as the author had intended. This would bring about a change like the following example.
“Therefore, just as through oneRomans 5:12 [NASB]
manperson sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned”
The goal is to help everyone see themselves in the our writing more easily. By choosing language that is more accessible and inclusive we help achieve this goal.
Neutral Group Terminology
Similar to the intention of our Gendered stance, we seek to use neutral group terminology when appropriate. This should only be used where the expectation is that the author or speaker is addressing a mixed group. To avoid issues of prioritization which comes with ordering the genders, and for inclusion of those who do not identify with the male/female genders. The following terms should be used instead.
- Children: instead of Daughters & Sons, Sons & Daughters, and others.
- Siblings: instead of Brothers & Sisters, Sisters & Brothers, and others.
- Parents: instead of Mothers & Fathers, Fathers & Mothers, and others.
- People: instead of Men & Women, Women & Men, and others.
- Ancestors: instead of Fathers, Forfathers, Forebearers, and others.
When the author or speaker is talking about an explicit group, we should attempt to reflect the make up of that group. There are limited situations in the bible where this is the situation. Most of the time we should used the neutral group terms above.
By keeping our reading level lower we ensure the widest accessibility to our writing. It is also a challenge to those of us writing to distill our ideas, phrases, and imagery down to more easily consumable bits.
Larger than Earth
Since the year 2000 CE people have continually lived in space. By 2100 CE humanity will likely be living on other planetary bodies in our solar system. This was beyond comprehension in 1900 before powered human flight.
In light of this dramatic change in our relationship with creation, we need to carefully expand the scope of our language. By doing so we are not saying that Jesus is not the Lord of the Earth, but that he is Lord of more than that.
During the expansive period during which the bible was written people would not have had the chance to see the curve of the earth with their own eyes. Most people never left their own nations (and this is still true today). Proclaiming that God was over all the Earth was a way to say that God was bigger than just us. We need to ensure that for the next two thousand years we use language that likewise reminds us of the lordship of God extends beyond all of the cosmos.
- Keep track of who is writing/contributing to what.
- Keep a log of texts which are sources of inspiration.