Lost In Translation: From English To Russian To English Once More

Online translation service concept

S. Bochner and W. T. Martin’s book Functions of Several Complex Variables, published in 1936, dealt with the functional theory of dimensions. At the time, this book was practically the only reference available to those who wished to study the subject. A few years later, the book was translated into Russian. 

Some anonymous fellow who read the Russian version of the book, having not realized that the book was originally written in English all along (a friend informed me that the Russian translation of the book didn’t make it clear enough that it was a translation), took the task translating the book back to English. He or she used a translation software to do the job. Obviously, it wasn’t Google Translate if you’re curious.

As expected of translation software, the book was barely readable and considering the complexity of the topics discussed in the volume, it’s not that surprising. Take the title for example:

Functions of Many Complicated Changeables

About Edmark M. Law

My name Edmark M. Law. I work as a freelance writer, mainly writing about science and mathematics. I am an ardent hobbyist. I like to read, solve puzzles, play chess, make origami and play basketball. In addition, I dabble in magic, particularly card magic and other sleight-of-hand type magic. I live in Hong Kong. I blog at learnfunfacts.com. You can find me on Twitter @EdmarkMLaw and Facebook. My email is learnfunfacts@gmail.com
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3 Responses to Lost In Translation: From English To Russian To English Once More

  1. Garfield Hug says:

    I find that with translations, the essence of any article or book gets “watered” down.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Those classic Chinese books that were translated to English seem so superficial, especially 紅樓夢. I read a relatively ok tranalation of it a while ago but I think that non-Chinese speakers will have some difficulties reading it due to the author’s heavy use of allusions.

      Aenid is another good example of this. When I learned Latin, I realized how bad the English translations really were lol.

      Like

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