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In brief Translating the Untranslatables Russian has another word, istina. In the original French publication, a total of 1500 words commonly used in philosophy, considered within their terminological networks, are explored in their polysemy and correlated from one language to another. It took more than 15 years to achieve this result, with the help of 150 fellow philosophers and translators, all, of course, multilingual. What has happened since the original French publication of the Untranslatables ten years ago? B.C.: In fact, a lot has happened. After a first print run of only 1500 copies, the dictionary did very well in the bookshops—in that specific category— and ultimately sold nearly 15,000 copies. We would like to see a paperback edition in France, but nobody knows except the editor how long it will take. Most importantly, the Dictionary of Untranslatables proved popular outside the country and now boasts translations into nearly ten languages. A Ukrainian version, an American English, and an Arabic version have already been published. Others are underway, including Hebrew, Romanian, Brazilian Portuguese, Mexican and Argentine Spanish, Russian, Italian, Greek, and soon Chinese.3 Strictly speaking, we should refer to these editions as adaptations rather than translations. For example, the Untranslatables in Arabic focus on political terms, such as “people,” “law,” “state,” “secularization,” and add a new article on “Charia.” Are there other things you are currently working on? B.C.: In addition to the dictionary itself, other projects have been undertaken, which tackle similar issues. Supervised by directors of cultural heritage and linguists, a recently-published book exploring untranslatables linked to heritage in Africa4 explores the different ways of saying “heritage” and “museum,” not only in French or English, but also in Fulani and Bambara. This project stems from the observation that Africa has very few UNESCO heritage sites, and that the vocabulary used during the application process could be a part of the problem. Another book,5 still in the works, sets out to identify the core words of each of the three Holy Scriptures and the correlations, where they exist, among these terms. A much-needed initiative in this day and age. ii LAB WATCH LUCY FINDS A NEW HOME On the 40th anniversary of the discovery in Ethiopia of humankind’s most famous fossil representative, Lucy, the little 3.2 million-year-old Australopithecus was put on display at the National Museum of Ethiopia’s new Gallery of Paleontology and Prehistory, which opened on December 3, 2014, in Addis Ababa. This permanent exhibition is the result of a scientific and logistic collaboration between two CNRS laboratories,1 with support from the French embassy in Ethiopia, and under the auspices of the Authority for Research and Conservation of Cultural Heritage.2 The exhibit features other astounding discoveries, including Ardy, the oldest (4.4 million years) hominid skeleton known to date and Selam, a 3.4 million-year-old baby Australopithecus found in the vicinity of Lucy. SEEING THE BIG PICTURE When we first see an image, do we analyze it as a whole and then focus on its elements, or do we pay attention to the details before reconstructing the entire picture? Researchers at the CRCA3 have shown that, unlike most animals , honeybees prioritize global configurations, like humans.4 The results show that, when they have to choose between the details or the global shape of an image to recognize a food source, bees tend to rely on the latter. Aurore Avarguès-Weber, first author of the article, will receive a fellowship L’Oréal – UNESCO Pour les femmes et la science for her work on cognition in bees. 1. Centre français des études éthiopiennes (CNRS / Ministère des Affaires Étrangères et du Développement International) and the Institut de Paléoprimatologie, paléontologie humaine: évolution et paléoenvironnements (CNRS / Université de Poitiers). 2. Ethiopian Ministry of Culture and Tourism. 3. Centre de recherches sur la cognition animale (CNRS / Université Toulouse III-Paul Sabatier). 4. A. Avarguès-Weber et al., “The forest or the trees: preference for global over local image processing is reversed by prior experience in honeybees,” Proc. R. Soc. B, 2014. doi. org/10.1098/rspb.2014.2384 The 3rd volume of the Ukrainian version (Editions Duh i Litera) was published in 2013. The 1st volume of the Arabic adaptation was published in 2012 (Editions al-markaz al-thaqafi al-arabi). The American English edition was published in 2014 with new contributions from philosophers and leading experts (including Judith Butler, Daniel Heller-Roazen, Ben Kafka, Kevin McLaughlin, Kenneth Reinhard, Stella Sandford, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Jane Tylus, Anthony Vidler, Susan Wolfson, or Robert J. C. Young). B. Cassin, E. Apter, J. Lezra, M. Wood (Eds.), Dictionary of Untranslatables: A Philosophical Lexicon, (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2014). For the latest about the project and upcoming editions in other languages: www.intraduisibles.org 15 WINTER 2015 N° 36


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