Friday, April 10, 2015

Words matter

Is paraphrase possible” Can two different sentences ever mean exactly the same thing? Dwight Bolinger has spent most of his career showing that this is virtually impossible and that almost any change in a sentence—whether a change in word order, vocabulary, intonation, or grammatical construction—will alter the sentence’s meaning, though often in a subtle way.—Metaphors We Live By, page 136

<idle musing>
Another reason that the Italian phrase "traduttore, traditore" (the translator is a traitor) is so accurate. Every change affects meaning, however subtly.

And that's also why the copyeditor's job is tough at times. You want to make sure the author's argument comes through the most effectively—but you have to make sure that in doing so you aren't changing it. Sometimes that's easier than other times.
</idle musing>

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