Spring 1982 • Vol. IV No. 2 Editor's Notes |

Editorial: On Translation

In one sense the question of whether translation can be possible is the central issue of our time. For the matter goes beyond translation from one natural human language to another. Can the experience of different cultures be reciprocally translated? Can a person with one social, racial, economic, sexual, or religious identity really understand someone with another? Just how far can we apply human intuitions and metaphors when we come to describe the behavior and sensations of other animals? How much does human language falsify the world? We may wish to draw the line somewhere and assert, with some, that science gives us an adequate translation of the natural world but that cultural worlds are mutually untranslatable; or, with others, that human cultural experience is transferable among human beings but that any humanly describable account of Nature from its own point of view is impossible. If we accept either position, though, we will find ourselves importing unwelcome bagga

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