Report on the Kickoff Meeting for the Revision of the Portuguese Translation

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By Georges Michelson-Dupont, Vice President, Urantia Foundation, Recloses, France

Caio Mário Caffé, Susana Hüttner Palaia, Carlos Leite da Silva
Caio Mário Caffé, Susana Hüttner Palaia, Carlos Leite da Silva

From September 30 to October 4, the first meeting of the Portuguese Revision Team was held in São Paulo, Brazil. Present were team members Susana Hüttner Palaia, Carlos Leite da Silva, and Caio Mário Caffé. Ricardo Machado was unable to attend. Also present were Trustees Richard Keeler and I, the Manager of Translations and the chair of the Translation Committee. The meeting was held at the home of Susana.

Attendees introduced themselves and then had a discussion about the Portuguese language and the cultural differences between Portugal and Brazil. Portuguese is spoken in Brazil, Portugal, certain countries in Africa and Asia, and Macao. Portuguese is the sixth most spoken language in the world with 240 million speakers. The population of Brazil is 192 million, and the population of Portugal is 10 million. Certain words spoken in Portugal are unknown in Brazil and vice versa. Or the same words may have different meanings in the two countries. Therefore, a simplification of the Portuguese language was conducted and adopted in 2009 by the Portuguese Language Academy.

The team was organized according to the strengths of each member. Caio is the chief reviser who is responsible for the quality, consistency, and schedule of the revision. All other team members agreed to work according to the key criteria outlined in a document distributed before the meeting commenced. It is expected that each person will contribute to the rendering of an excellent final text by bringing their unique perspectives and talents, good will, wisdom, and team spirit to the table. Group wisdom and team effort are crucial to the success of this endeavor.

We discussed and agreed that a good translation or revision should reflect the following criteria:

  • True to the original English text, that is, accurate expression of the words, thoughts, and ideas of the authors.
  • The clarity of their writings and presentation to the human mind.
  • The coherence in the utilization of proper names and specific words.
  • The quality of the style.
  • The proper utilization of typography, punctuation, syntax and grammar rules. (The Chicago Manual of Style [ISBN 0-226-10390-0] was used as a reference for the first printing of The Urantia Book.)

A revision of a translation of The Urantia Book is a difficult task requiring multiple skills that are not easy to gather in one team. The work must concentrate on two aspects:

  1. A careful checking of how the translator translated the content of the English text.
  2. A careful revision of the style. The revision should exhibit a coherence of the syntax and the proper utilization of the Portuguese typographical rules, including italics and capitalization which might be different from the English language.

The following points regarding revision of the Portuguese translation were discussed:

  • Faithfulness to the concepts described in the English text. This requires a good understanding of the concepts and doctrines of The Urantia Book along with a mastery of the English language.
  • Accuracy and exactness of the Portuguese vocabulary. Has an English sentence been fully and correctly translated? Choosing the wrong article (masculine when it should be feminine, for example), could completely change the meaning of an idea.
  • Consistency and correctness in the translation of proper names and specific words. This aspect of a translation or revision should be carefully checked and corrected.
  • Ambiguities and difficulties. Using a word in the plural instead of the singular is an example. Another is the meaning of “actual” and “potential” which can change depending on the context. “Unqualified” used in conjunction with something that is not on an absolute level is another example.
  • Missing or added words. In some translations, words are added or are often missing. Translators and revisers must remember that the authors were very precise and specific in their word choice and use of the English language.

The revisers will use Urantia Foundation’s Translation website. This website has been designed to offer translators and revisers a safe and efficient environment with many beneficial features to produce and revise translations.

The meeting was very positive and productive. The members of the revision team are enthusiastic and determined to revise an excellent quality translation for the Portuguese- speaking peoples of our world.

Richard Keeler, Carlos Leite da Silva, Nemias Mol, Ligia Zotini, Georges Michelson-Dupont, Susana Hüttner
Richard Keeler, Carlos Leite da Silva, Nemias Mol, Ligia Zotini, Georges Michelson-Dupont, Susana Hüttner

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