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JoshuaZ 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: JoshuaZ 16 September 2011 12:42:21PM 6 points [-]

that the high-status thing to do is to provide quotes in the original language without translation

This may be high status in certain social circles (having interacted with the snooty Ivy League educated New York poets also, they certainly think so) but to a lot of people doing so comes across as obnoxious and pretentious, that is an attempt to blatantly signal high status in a way that signals low status.

The highest status thing to do (and just optimal as far as I can tell for actually conveying information) is to include the original and the translation also.

Comment author: [deleted] 21 September 2011 12:36:42AM 2 points [-]

I agree that this is probably optimal. My own class background is academics and published writers (both my parents are tenured professors). It's actually hard trying to explain in a codified way what one knows at a gut level: I know that translations need to be credited, and for status reasons, but press me on the reasons and I'm probably not terribly reliable.

Comment author: gwern 21 September 2011 01:15:57AM 7 points [-]

I find it interesting that everyone here is focusing on status; couldn't it just be that crediting translations is absolutely necessary for the basic scholarly purpose of judging the authority and trustworthiness of the translation and even the original text? And that failing to provide attribution demonstrates a lack of academic expertise, general ignorance of the slipperiness of translation ('hey, how important could it be?'), and other such problems.

I know I find such information indispensable for my anime Evangelion research (I treat translations coming from ADV very differently from translations by Olivier Hague and that different from translations by Bochan_bird, and so on, to give a few examples), so how much more so for real scholarship?

Comment author: [deleted] 21 September 2011 01:53:25AM *  6 points [-]

Well, what I originally [see edit] wrote was "It's wrong (deprives the translator of rightful credit) -- and, FWIW, it's also low-status." I think people found the "low-status" part of my claim more interesting, but it wasn't the primary reason I reacted badly to seeing a translation uncredited as such.

Edit: on reflection, this wasn't my original justification. I simply reacted with gut-level intuition, knowing it was wrong. Every other explanation is after-the-fact, and therefore suspect.

Comment author: JoshuaZ 21 September 2011 01:59:10AM 2 points [-]

Upvoting for realizing that a rational wasn't your actual reason.

Comment author: JoshuaZ 21 September 2011 01:26:01AM 1 point [-]

Yes, agreed. I did note above that including the translation details with the original was optimal for conveying information but I didn't emphasize it. I think that part of why people have been emphasizing status issues over serious research in this context is that the start of the discussion was about what to do with epigraphs. Since they really are just for rhetorical impact, the status issue matters more for them.