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wnoise comments on The Optimizer's Curse and How to Beat It - Less Wrong

44 Post author: lukeprog 16 September 2011 02:46AM

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Comment author: wnoise 16 September 2011 07:25:14AM *  3 points [-]

All translation is paraphrase, of course -- but there is a difference of connotation that corresponds to a difference in etiquette. When one is dealing with an author writing in the same language as oneself, there is a certain obligation to the original words that does not (cannot) exist in the case of an author writing in a different language.

Right. But there are no hard-and-fast lines for "same language as oneself".

So basically, I saw your comment as not-acknowledging that Burns was writing in a different language.

You and I both brought up comparisons with Shakespeare. Both can be difficult to read for a struggling reader. For a sophisticated reader, the gist of both can be gotten with a modicum of effort. Full understanding of either requires a specialized dictionary, as vocabulary is different. So was Shakespeare writing in a different language? Was Burns? What's the purpose of this distinction? If it's weighing understanding vs adherence to the original wording, the trade-off is fairly close to the same place for the two. On the other hand, if it's to acknowledge the politic linguistic classification that Scots is a separate language from Modern English, there is a distinction, as no one cares whether Early Modern English is treated as a separate language from Modern English. (EDIT: I should say that I do think it's often more useful to consider Scots a separate language. Just because Burns was mostly intelligible to the English does not mean that other authors or speakers generally were.)


Meditations was first published in Latin.