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Re: transformations of 'source code'

Branden Robinson <branden@debian.org> writes:

> I don't agree with this analysis at all.  Translations from one natural
> language to another are very lossy things.  Ever read Shakespeare
> without using the footnotes?  How about Chaucer?  Magnify that problem
> by ten.

I can agree completely.  My day to day work depends on reading Latin
works from the early middle ages.  I am always stunned by how bad
translations are, which is really a measure of just how hard
translation really is.  I asked my thesis advisor about a translation
of a particular work that I'm reading in a seminar with her, and she
remarked that she simply didn't know: she never reads translations,
except to assign them in classes, and then she is always disturbed.
Why bother keeping up on translations when you can just read the book
as it was written?

Translating a book seems easy, even to bilingual people, until you
actually start taking some serious bit of writing, and do it, and then
you quickly discover that it's always a crap shoot.

Translation is betrayal, is the motto of the field.


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