Russian Translation

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Science  29 Mar 1957:
Vol. 125, Issue 3248, pp. 579-585
DOI: 10.1126/science.125.3248.579


This discussion has described the status of the large United States program for translation from the Russian. A partial description of what is being done or planned, and by whom, has been provided as a guide for those who wish to follow the subject further. The urge to pass on useful information has necessarily restricted the space which might also have been profitably devoted to the philosophic aspects of the problem.

Although it is not said with any sense of pride in achievement—because much more remains to be done than has been done—it would seem fair to describe the current national translation activity, including all contributions to it, as a phenomenon. Phenomena in scientific communication are not common: a full appreciation of their significance requires more analysis than results from a simple listing of their outward characteristics. But a few observations might be made in conclusion.

Most United States scientists probably feel that, as a nation, we are and should be world leaders in science, even though this feeling is neither nurtured nor expressed in a spirit of violent competition. If this assumption is allowed, the point which seems to remain is that the United States will not retain its position casually. Our scientists expect to maintain an awareness of the scientific achievements and failures of the other nations of the world. But we must especially become more aware of the advances of Soviet science, both qualitatively and quantitatively. The evidence points toward this last conclusion, regardless of whether one is concerned with the production of ideas or things, increase in man's knowledge of himself and his environment, conflict between idealisms, or simply the national security.