The Possibility of Language

A discussion of the nature of language, with implications for human and machine translation

Alan K. Melby | Brigham Young University at Provo
Terry Warner | Brigham Young University at Provo
ISBN 9789027216144 (Eur) | EUR 110.00
ISBN 9781556196959 (USA) | USD 165.00
ISBN 9789027283573 | EUR 110.00 | USD 165.00
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This book is about the limits of machine translation. It is widely recognized that machine translation systems do much better on domain-specific controlled-language texts (domain texts for short) than on dynamic general-language texts (general texts for short). The authors explore this general — domain distinction and come to some uncommon conclusions about the nature of language. Domain language is claimed to be made possible by general language, while general language is claimed to be made possible by the ethical dimensions of relationships. Domain language is unharmed by the constraints of objectivism, while general language is suffocated by those constraints. Along the way to these conclusions, visits are made to Descartes and Saussure, to Chomsky and Lakoff, to Wittgenstein and Levinas. From these conclusions, consequences are drawn for machine translation and translator tools, for linguistic theory and translation theory. The title of the book does not question whether language is possible; it asks, with wonder and awe, why communication through language is possible.
[Benjamins Translation Library, 14] 1995.  xxvi, 276 pp.
Publishing status: Available
Table of Contents
“No readers are going to be neutral or indifferent. [This book’s] arguments deserve the most careful consideration by all those concerned with the fundamental aims and future prospects of both human and machine translation.”
“For nearly half a century, linguistics and comparative literature have disputed the terrain of translation studies. ... For practicing translators, who have belittled this dispute from a distance, now is the time to start reading [this book].”
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Chesterman, Andrew
1998. Causes, Translations, Effect. Target. International Journal of Translation Studies 10:2  pp. 201 ff. DOI logo
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This list is based on CrossRef data as of 16 may 2024. Please note that it may not be complete. Sources presented here have been supplied by the respective publishers. Any errors therein should be reported to them.


Translation & Interpreting Studies

Translation Studies

Main BIC Subject

CF: Linguistics

Main BISAC Subject

LAN009000: LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General
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U.S. Library of Congress Control Number:  95045373 | Marc record