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The seventeen papers in this collection are discussions of the many aspects of translation—its value and its problems. Writing from a literary point of view, translators of poetry and fiction consider the responsibility of the translator to the original author, and also the role of the translator as a creator of a new work of art. Studying the subject historically, scholars show the influence of the customs and ideas of the time on the many translations of such classics as the Agamemnon. From another point of view, the philosophical one, a logician shows how the very foundations of language can be discovered in a study of the methods used to create a system of communication with a person speaking an entirely foreign tongue.
In addition to these theoretical treatments, writers of many of the papers present the practical problems encountered in different types of translating: Bible translating; translation from Russian or Chinese—languages whose structures different fundamentally from English; translation from French or German—languages which, though similar, present problems of style, dialect, and interpretation; and automatic translation—by machine. The Bibliography, enriched by quotations and descriptions and arranged chronologically, shows how much more important the subject of translation has come to be regarded through the years, and also how varied and exciting the approaches to it can be.