[OPE-L:2071] Re: Translator's lot is not a happy one

riccardo bellofiore (bellofio@cisi.unito.it)
Sat, 4 May 1996 01:23:54 -0700

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At 18:04 1-05-1996 -0700, glevy@acnet.pratt.edu wrote:

>(4) The ability to communicate in many languages is well beyond the
>ability of most workers internationally under current circumstances given
>the nature of the educational system and the lack of leisure time
>required for such an effort if undertaken later in life. Consequently, even
>if we (as Marxist economists) learn more languages, that does not solve the
>problem. Regardless of our individual multi-lingualism, more translations
>are needed.

A short story about translations. I made some proposals to a well-known
publisher (i) to translate (trying to find myself the money for the
translation) two works of my teacher, Claudio Napoleoni - one, Lezioni sul
capitolo sesto inedito, is _one of_ the best introduction to Marxian
economic theory, translated in many languages but not English; the other,
with Lucio Colletti, is Il futuro del capitalismo: crollo o sviluppo? _the_
best reading on the collapse theory available; (ii) to edit with a
philosopher a new translation, with a critical apparatus, of the first
chapter in the first edition and the appendix to the same edition, which
should take into account the French version; (iii) some works of mine

Ironically, he was much more interested to (iii)! (i) failed because the
guy, Napoeleoni, is already dead, so the publisher thinks there is not so
much interested; (ii) failed because it is a venture devoted too much to

That's all. I shall try in the future with some other publishers, but I
think this sample of one is representative of the universe.


>(6) On the purely practical matter of communicating on the Net, some
>other lists have frequent communication in languages other than English.
>Unfortunately, if posts are not translated, then most will simply delete
>on sight -- and that is a *fact*. On aut-op-sy the moderator (Steve
>Wright) translates Italian posts into English and vice versa. On OPE-L,
>all of our conversations have been in English. MUST it be so? *NO!*. My
>feeling is that if members want to write posts in another language, we
>can discuss practical ways of doing this. For instance, we could have an
>enthusiastic graduate student or students subscribe if they were willing
>to translate (this might be a very tempting offer for some). I'm not
>proposing that at this time, but I do want to emphasize that non-English
>posts should not be _a priora_ ruled out of order.

I think there are already programs which automatically do translations
(even for the Web pages!) but I fear they do not work, and that this is a
hard job for a very learned person: learned both in the various languages,
and in the topics discussed

You write a priora. It is a Latin term, a priori. A short note on
imperialism as felt in the mind of the non-English speakers. Have you ever
heard how even Italians economist do read 'a priori'? They use the English
rules of pronunciation, *not* the Latin ones. No comment.


Riccardo Bellofiore e-mail: bellofio@cisi.unito.it
Department of Economics Tel: (39) -35- 277505 (direct)
University of Bergamo (39) -35- 277501 (dept.)
Piazza Rosate, 2 (39) -11- 5819619 (home)
I-24129 Bergamo Fax: (39) -35- 249975