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Translations

November 01, 1987

Marcia Bates' comments (Letters, Oct. 17) regarding my article are well received. However, I must take issue with her main point that translation of scientific journals is a viable alternative. She refers to the "thousands" of foreign journals already translated into English. Contrarily, Prof. David Teece at the UC Berkeley School of Business reports:

"Only 4% of Japan's important technical literature is translated into English. That's one of the reasons why the Japanese know us so much better than we know them, and why it's so difficult to redress the balance. The lack of Japanese language skills outside Japan affords the Japanese an important degree of national protection on issues of technology and strategy."

Moreover, reading a translation of a scientific paper is like chewing someone else's gum--the flavor, often the crucial expression of ideas, is lost in the interpretation process.

JOHN L. GRAHAM

Los Angeles

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