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M. Gonzalez-Marquez
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Hi Chelsea, Thanks for the clarification. That said, I fear it may need modification. I am currently reading a student paper where I am finding that a considerable percentage (easily over 50% on some pages) consists of the student's translation of material in a foreign language. As a linguist and a cognitive scientist, I understand well the motivations you give, i.e. a translation is an interpretation, part art, part science, etc., but this is also a slippery slope for students and other inexperienced researchers. As someone who speaks several languages, I believe there is a clear distinction between the interpretation of the ideas put down in a foreign language, and a direct translation. Interpretation from a foreign language is very similar to the process one engages in when referencing material in the same language one is using to write. Translation involves maintaining all of the concepts and as much of the presentation structure as possible such that the translated text is directly comparable to the original. These are very different objectives. For example, this is a sentence from a colleague's paper written in Italian "Nell’ultimo trentennio, le scienze cognitive hanno pro- posto una teoria alternativa a quelle che intendevano la metafora come strumento linguistico, cioè che il processo metaforico si potesse ridurre al livello letterale, semantico o pragmatico" (Evola 2008, p. 55). My translation is, Within the last thirty years, the cognitive sciences have proposed an alternative theory to one where metaphor is a linguistic tool, that is, where the metaphorical process could be reduced to the literal, semantic or pragmatic. (Evola 2008) My interpretation is, Evola (2008) describes how evidence from cognitive science research has helped reconceptualize metaphor as more than a linguistic tool. Evola, Vito (2008). “La metafora come carrefour cognitivo del pensiero e del linguaggio”. In Casadio, Claudia (ed.) (2008). Vie della metafora: linguistica, filosofia, psicologia. Chieti: Editore Prime Vie – Sulmona. pp. 55-80 As you can see, there are strong differences between the two extracts. When referencing a peer's research, the second seems to best fit the norms of good practice, while the first is questionable. In fact, I would classify it as one step away from plagiarism, at best. I submit these examples in the hope that the APA will change its policy and strongly discourage the practice of direct translation as an acceptable form of interpretation. Kind regards, Monica Gonzalez-Marquez Cornell University & Bielefeld University
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Jun 16, 2016