Re: What About the Author Self-Archiving of Books?

From: Thomas Krichel <krichel_at_OPENLIB.ORG>
Date: Sat, 20 Jul 2002 18:12:32 -0500

  David Goodman writes

> I ask your advice whether you think that an automated translation with
> any available software would be adequate to a technical work of this
> sort (as you are much more knowledgeable than me in all related areas)?

  I suspect that it depends on the language that are being used. Translations
  from English are very difficult because of the same word can have many
  meanings. But translations from German fare better I suppose because
  it has fewers ambiguities. As the emperor Charles V said, "I speak
  Spanish to God, French to the men, Italian to the ladies, and German
  to my horse."

> Would you trust it instead of the original, or instead of a professional
> edited translation?

  Yes, but use it with care when it come to citations.

> As a comprehensive research library, my institution routinely buys
> important non-English monographs in most subject fields. We might have
> missed this one, but we won't, because I've just ordered it. I am not
> sure if any US libraries have a truly comprehensive collection program
> in library science, since the demise of the Columbia Library School
> Library.

  And I am not sure, what the purpose of such a collection nowadays would be,
  because of the difficulty in accessing offline media. If it is not
  freely available online, I am not likely to read it. If authors
  want me to spend my valuable time to read their material, they
  have to make sure that I don't have to go to the library to get it.
  My students have developed a similar attitude.

> The difficulty for me, once I get the book, is that my German is not
> really up to reading an entire book (my Ph.D. language exam in German
> was a very long time ago).

  Don't count on me :-). So, it will probably sit there, enjoy its
  shelf space, and gather dust.

> This underlines your point about the need for
> translation. Librarianship is a field where there has long been
> separate national traditions, but I think that period is past, or
> ought to be.

  This is of course discipline-specific, but my impression is that
  separate national traditions are diminishing, but are not over yet.
  For Economics in Germany, see the studies by Brauninger and Haucap


  Thomas Krichel
Received on Sun Jul 21 2002 - 00:12:32 BST

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