Sourpuss translators of Evangelii Gaudium

Pope Francis smileThere have been some questions about the English translation of Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium.  A number of bloggers (for example Fr. Z) have assumed that the original language of the exhortation was Spanish.  It is also possible, that since he is very comfortable in Italian, the Pope composed the exhortation in Italian.  I was having some fun with the very British word “sourpusses” in the English translation of EG 85 and I compared the various translations:


English: “sourpusses”

Spanish: “con cara de vinagre” = Vinegar-faced

French: “au visage assombri.” = gloomy-faced or clouded-faced

Italian: “dalla faccia scura” = dark-faced

German: “mit düsterem Gesicht verwandelt“ =”With a dark face transformed”

The English and Spanish follow unusual idioms, while the Italian, French, and German seem related.  Sourpuss does seem appropropriate for  “con cara de vinagre” if that was the original.

Apparently the Holy Father already used the colorful expression “Algunos cristianos tienen cara de pepinos en vinagre” [a face of pickles and vinegar] on 10 May 2013 in a homily at Casa Santa Marta in the Vatican.



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