[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index][Subject Index][Author Index]

Re: Planet of the New Papers

Hello everyone!

It's been more than three decades since I read my first scientific paper in 
another language - description of Mycoplasma pneumonia bacterium in French 
(senior moment prevents me from remembering the citation and boxes full of 
photocopies, reprints, tearsheets, etc. precludes rapid search ... oh if only 
they were all pdfs on hard drive - but that was another thread). I, myself, 
speak 'Merican which means I can also read the Queen's English. Not everyone is 
facile in non-native language. Accurate communication is more likely and word 
usage may convey just the proper nuance of thought when written in one's 
lifelong language. As long as it has the permanence of print it stands a good 
chance of someone reading it in their native language and spreading the ideas 
in another they may speak, especially in this the Age of Communication. Obscure 
journals can be just as daunting to the spread of ideas as a language I'm 
unable to comprehend (Mendel's peas papers come to my mind.) It would be nice
 to have everything available in the language you know best and all journals 
available but ... I'll keep dreaming.

I am quite grateful for the efforts of translators although something is always 
lost. The Polyglot site is a treasure. After 4 years '60s highschool French and 
three albums of French stamps, I can plod through with minimal dictionary use, 
not so with my Deutsch - a Langenscheidts must always be at hand. Since living 
in Miami Beach I find Spanish and even Italian somewhat accessible. Reading 
haiku in katakana and the other Japanese scripts is a delight not attainable in 
translation. Likewise, Baudelaire and Villon lose much when read in 
Chaucher's Canterbury Tales, Sir Gawaine and the Greene Knight, Beowulf, Snorri 
Sturluson's Eddas are just not the same unless the original is read. So I say, 
just keep those dinosaur papers coming in all languages, especially if they 
have nice pictures :-). I think of my first Chinese ideograph learned: "Work 
Together" (i.e. Gung Ho, a little different from the English dictionary 
definition but the original meaning the 2nd Raider Battalion, 1st Marines 
fought under). With a little help from my friends - the DML - the spread of 
ideas are facilitated. Gung Ho!

Michael Patrick Corriss 
Miami Beach