«Is That a Fish in Your Ear?»

A desire to believe (despite all evidence to the contrary) that words are at the bottom the names of things is what makes the translator's mission seem so impossible. David Bellos

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«Is That a Fish in your Ear?»

Expressions in any language don't have a meaning just like that (...). Translation represents the meaning that an utterance has (...). In fact, the only way of being sure whether an utterance has any meaning at all is to get someone to translate it for you. David Bellos

Is That a Fish in Your Ear?

It’s a well-known fact that a translation is no substitute for the original. It’s also perfectly obvious that this is wrong. Translations are substitutes for original texts. You use them in the place of a work written in a language you cannot read with ease. David Bellos

The Economist on Steven Pinker’s “The Sense of Style”, 2014

As a linguist he〈Mr. Pinker〉is a "descriptivist", believing that the mass of speakers, not a minority of experts, make the rules. Many so-called rules are superstitions that good writers routinely ignore.