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Stamford Teacher translates theological text

Stamford Teacher translates theological text

A teacher at the Stamford Schools has been chosen to translate a theological text by a private translation agency.

Mr Ben O’Neill, Teacher of German and Assistant Chaplain at the Stamford Schools was approached by an Italian translation agency to translate a theological text from German into English.

This request was on behalf of an important Vatican ministry, ahead of a conference to be held the following week. This ministry was established by Pope Benedict XVI to encourage Christians in their task of passing on the faith from one generation to the next, and to provide teaching and learning resources.

Such requests are very rare and reflect Ben’s strong command of both the German language and theology. The text to be translated, which ended up being a substantial 38 pages long, looked at the history of evangelisation and catechesis within the Roman Catholic Church, focussing particularly on developments in the last 60 years.

Mr O’Neill said: “One of my specialist areas as a student, at the universities of Cambridge and Vienna, was medieval German theological texts, and so it made a change to study something so recent!

“It was not an easy text to translate, containing a large amount of specific theological vocabulary. The task of the translator is never an easy one – it is not just about translating word for word, but about expressing ideas in an idiomatic and sophisticated way. There are many decisions to make, such as whether – and how – to break up sentences, and there are often several different ways in which a single word can be translated. Ultimately, though, it has been a deeply fulfilling task, and I hope to pass on some of the things I have learnt throughout the process to my students.”

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