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Steve Torok brings up an important point, namely that words express a culture and are therefore often almost impossible to translate totally. For example, it is almost impossible to translate "He's a NICE person." This is complicated by the fact that the word comes from "nescius" (ignorant), and the meaning has slowly evolved. The implication is that ignorant people are "nicer" than learned ones. My dealings with university faculty confirm that, an observation which should delight anthropologists. Steve, whose solution is probably unconstitutional, says:
"One aspect of multiple fluency in languages is the appreciation of different thinking patterns in each, that would be lost with standardization (these patterns many times get lost in translation too, due to lack of fluency!). Being multilingual might be an onerous task, but it is worth the effort. For simple "administrative" language there is really no problem ,since both words and concepts are limited. Thus standardizing court procedures in a single language, with formal and agreed glossaries of main terms, would suffice...The courts would then be restricted to use these glossaries (in all the official languages) with multilingual interpreters assigned to the defense, only to be able to interpret the "nuances" as described above (similarly to the judge and jury too ... increasing court costs enormously!).
Ronald Hilton - 2/28/00