You are on page 1of 23

Logical samba `avec' translations

I. M. R. Pinheiro (Note 1)

Written:7th August 2006.


The purpose of this paper is providing a joyful logical account on the technicalities of

the translation work. We mix some superficial understanding of the Chinese language

with a deep understanding of the technical translation work (involving both Portugues

e and English languages) to support the applications of Logic to Language, that is: we

defend Semiotic studies by means of a new association, yet not tried. As a plus, we als

o make use of our previous work, on the `Sorites’ problem, to identify similarities bet

ween the `Sorites’ problem and issues related to the technique of translation, that is: w

e provide an alternative way, for linguistic experts, to understand the `Sorites’ proble

m as well as to make use of it, as a tool, in their own research.


Translation, Fuzzy, Paraconsistency, Sorites, Language, Logic.

Pinheiro 1
1. Introduction

Four pieces of writing form our introduction:

g) Explanations on the `Sorites' problem;

h) Explanations on the `Fuzzy' logical system, as devised by `Zadeh';

i) Explanations on `Paraconsistency', as understood by `Priest', accompanied by

a description of the underlying reasoning behind the language translation work


j) Intersections found on the set formed by all previous items.

After this introduction, we then try to apply those concepts to the theory (logic) which

makes of `translation' a professional field.

1.1 Sorites paradox

We here copy our introduction to the problem as stated in (PINHEIRO, M.R. (2006)).

The name `Sorites' derives from the Greek word soros (meaning `heap'), and originall

y referred to a puzzle known as `The Heap’ (not to a paradox):

`Would you describe a single grain of sand as a heap?


Would you describe two grains of sand as a heap?

No...You must admit the presence of a heap sooner or later, so where do you draw th

e line?'

[HYDE, D. (1997)]

Pinheiro 2
The Sorites paradox is generally taken to mean all problems which are variations of th

e above `heap problem’. The `heap problem’ starts with a clear heap of sand and one t

akes one grain of sand at a time until there are no grains left. The problem is telling w

here one stops having a heap. The heart of the problem is determining where the line

(if there is any), which separates `heaps’ from `non-heaps’, is located. The puzzle has

been astonishing people for centuries because it is evident that there must be a line bet

ween `heaps’ and `non-heaps’: one has, at the beginning of the puzzle, a clear heap, a

nd, at the end, a clear non-heap. Admitting that there is no line to be drawn, that thing

s `are’ and `are not’, at the same time, as Paraconsistency wants to defend, would mea

n stating that it is the case that either what you see at the beginning is not what you se

e, once you clearly see a `heap’, or what you see at the end is not what you see, once i

t is clearly a `non-heap’. It seems completely unnatural to admit that something that o

ne would easily classify as a `heap’ is actually a `non-heap’ as well. Therefore, it must

be the case that there is a moment when the `heap’ stops being `a heap’. We must reas

sure the reader as to the view we hold: the Sorites was born in a classical logic contex

t, and, in it, it should be solved, even because what intrigues people is its similarity to

the mathematical induction, which is, clearly, classical.

So far, we only repeated the words written in [PINHEIRO, M.R. (2006)], but we now

ask the reader to concentrate on these lines: `Admitting that there is no line to be draw

n; that things “are” and “are not”, at the same time, as Paraconsistency wants to defen

d, would mean stating that it is the case that either what you see, at the beginning, is n

ot what you see, once you clearly see “a heap”; or what you see, at the end, is not wha

t you see, once it is clearly “a non-heap”.

1.1.1 How to generate problems containing the essence of the heap pr

Pinheiro 3

An easy way to create a Sorites is finding out the `right amount’ to be added to some s

pecificity of the attribute of the first element of the sequence (for instance: `brightnes

s’, in the case of colors) as well as the `right attribute’, which may actually be chosen

from several options (any color, any vaguely defined quality, etc.). But we also need t

o present the Sorites in a particular way, so that people are lead to believe that there is

no way to tell where the line is. This way of presenting things is as the increasing set

goes, precisely, that is, if one changes the set ordering, placing, for instance, the final

element from the class beside the first one, there is the danger that one identifies at lea

st one sharp cut-off in the sequence immediately, and the problem loses its value. Ther

efore, a soritical problem demands:

a) An attribute which may be established by means of a progressive sequence (increas

ing (Note 2));

b) The right amount (increment) to be added to each attribute, of each element, of the


c) Of course, a first element for the sequence (our a1);

d) A clear opposition between the first and the last elements (say element a1 and

element aN), with the number of elements (n) allowed to be infinity (elements

of the sequence) regarding the attribute (either the attribute may be given to th

e first, but may not be given to the last, or vice-versa).

1.2 Fuzzy Logic

Pinheiro 4
We have decided to cut and paste (with very minor editing modifications) the explanat

ion from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (ANDERSON ET AL. (1996)):

`The term ``fuzzy logic" emerged in the development of the theory of fuzzy sets by ``

Lofti Zadeh” [ZADEH, L. (1965)].

A fuzzy subset A of a (crisp) set X is characterized by assigning to each element x of

X the degree of membership of x in A (e.g., X is a group of people, A the fuzzy set of

old people in X). Now if X is a set of propositions then its elements may be assigned t

heir degree of truth, which may be “absolutely true”, “absolutely false” or some inter

mediate truth degree: a proposition may be truer than another proposition. This is obvi

ous in the case of vague (imprecise) propositions like ``this person is old" (beautiful, r

ich, etc.). In the analogy to various definitions of operations on fuzzy sets (intersectio

n, union, complement...), one may ask how propositions can be combined by connecti

ves (conjunction, disjunction, negation…), and if the truth degree of a composed prop

osition is determined by the truth degrees of its components, i.e., if the connectives ha

ve their corresponding truth functions (like truth tables of classical logic). Saying `yes'

(which is the mainstream of fuzzy logic), one accepts the truth-functional approach; th

is makes fuzzy logic to something distinctly different from probability theory since th

e latter is not truth-functional (the probability of conjunction of two propositions is no

t determined by the probabilities of those propositions).

Two main directions in Fuzzy logic have to be distinguished [ZADEH, L. (1994)]: Fu

zzy logic in the broad sense (older, better known, heavily applied but not asking deep

logical questions) serves mainly as apparatus for fuzzy control, analysis of vagueness

in natural language, and several other application domains (it is one of the techniques

of soft-computing, i.e., computational methods tolerant to sub optimality and imprecis

eness (vagueness), which give quick, simple and sufficiently good solutions)".

Another exert from the same source (ANDERSON ET AL. (1996)), same article, is:
Pinheiro 5
`Fuzzy logic, in the narrow sense, is symbolic logic with a comparative notion of truth

developed fully in the spirit of classical logic (syntax, semantics, axiomatization, trut

h-preserving deduction, completeness, etc.; both propositional and predicate logic): It

is a branch of many-valued logic based on the paradigm of inference under vagueness.

Fuzzy logic is a relatively young discipline, serving as a foundation for Fuzzy logic in

the broad sense, as well as subject of independent logical interest, since it turns out th

at strictly logical investigation of this kind of logical calculi can go very far'.

This definition looks very good, as introduction, and explains quite a lot about the logi

c under trial of explanation.

In the Sorites paradox, Fuzzy logic got translated into assigning random truth degrees

contained in the real interval [0,1], so that each step in the soritical sequence is further

or closer to the truth, depending on what degree the antecedent of each inferential step

acquired by this random assignment. With the progressive, and gradual, acquisition of

non-veracity by the antecedent, one finally gets a false implication, so that the last ste

p is always nicely justifiable. This account is accused of higher-order vagueness by re

searchers in Logic, and such a point is very clearly made by Hyde in, for instance, [H

YDE, D. (1997)]. Basically, it is as if Fuzzy logic produces an interface in which to co

nvert real values contained in [0,1] into either 0 or 1, that is, it changes `close to huma

n representation’(once we believe to have proved that human normal – not ill – repres

entation goes far beyond) into machine representation. Problem is that it is easy to pro

ve that such is never possible entirely (otherwise Turing contest would have made it

[CASTI, J. (1999)]). Same problems addressed in [PINHEIRO, M.R. (2006)] appear i

n this account on the Sorites.

1.3 Paraconsistency and Translation

Pinheiro 6
The paraconsistent logical system is that which differs from the others for one specific

reason: it allows contradictions to not bring the law of explosion in an implication, tha

t is, uttering `p' and `not-p', at the same time, does not make the whole set of possible

assertions in the system true, only a few chosen ones.

In principle, that is what makes Paraconsistency special.

Paraconsistency is mentioned in several sources in the literature. Perhaps a good start

is [TANAKA, K. (2003)].

As mentioned in [PINHEIRO, M.R. (2006)], with further detail, `Priest’ defends it to

belong to the beings, that is, to be ONTOLOGICAL, whilst `Da Costa’ defends it to n

ever belong to beings, that is, to be purely logical/machine friendly.

As the most recent application of Paraconsistency (July, 2000), in the conference held

in Brazil, SP, with participation of both `Priest’ and `Da Costa’, someone has presente

d a robot which could be programmed to instead of crashing, having received conflicti

ng information from the environment, when it had not been programmed for such, wo

uld still perform an action, that is, would still be able to act/move.

We here wish to explore this aspect of Paraconsistency: the ability of allowing decisio

ns when facing extremely conflicting information. The matter, however, is just allure

ment to explain how the technical process of translating takes place. Paraconsistency i

s also mentioned in [PRIEST, G. (2000)] for the curious reader.

We must mention here that we do not believe in Ontological Paraconsistency. Irrespec

tive of the point of `Tanaka’ in the mentioned References Section, there is another mis

conception contained in `Priest's’ and other co-thinkers' works: when they claim the p

oint is about Logic and logical systems, we claim that the point is about whether incon

sistencies are really found in the World, or it is just our Parallax mistake, that is, the m

istake of not mentioning all the conditions involved in our observation, which makes

us mistakenly `assume' that the entities bear inconsistencies in themselves. We actuall
Pinheiro 7
y believe, as mentioned in [PINHEIRO, M.R. (2006)], that the beings do not bear inco

nsistencies, they simply `are'. What there is is an obvious difficulty with expressing th

ings to people via words, or any other means, which may be able to convey what we,

ourselves, are not able to think of, in precise terms. If our own judgment is a failure, i

n the sense that it usually does not involve, or mention, for instance, in the example `T

anaka’ mentions about `Priest’, about the moving objects and the law itself, the `refere

ntial'; how can our language ever express our thoughts with the precision that just was

not there when we thought of things?

As simple as the wind blows, there is obvious misconception, not in the Brazilian sch

ool, highly founded in scientific studies and `precisification' of definitions (for instanc

e, in Brazil, it is not accepted that a Mathematics lecturer ever thinks of brackets as irr

elevant, whilst in Australia it is OK: knowledge acquired via direct observation of syst

ems), but in the Australian `school'. School, here, replaces `Education' and `Philosoph

y' of a Country/people of that Country. In terms of that, what would make it better wo

n, for the Brazilian score, is the statistics on how many papers are published, in scienti

fic and relevant journals, produced by Brazilian specialists in both Mathematics and L

inguistics. We hold a belief that the Brazilian score is higher than the Australian score,

what makes it more believable that the Brazilian School of thought holds a far higher

chance of being better founded. Apart from that, we must also consider how holistic th

e educational approach in Brazil is and, in those regards, it is definitely more holistic t

han the Australian approach, Brazilian courses encompassing at least four majors, and

being all of at least four years, when it comes to university degrees.

Brazilian students are `obliged' to learn at least two other languages, different from th

eir native language, whilst studying at high school level, what, per se, means more Wo

rld communication/understanding/knowledge.

Therefore, considering the way Brazilians are raised, as well as their schools, and thei
Pinheiro 8
r scientific production, we tend to think that, for probability reasons, they would be th

e best bet of any amateur.

For obvious simple logical reasons, the Parallax mistake is there to tell us that Paraco

nsistency cannot be ontological, given its easily defeatable argumentation, such as the

one made by `Priest’ and mentioned by `Tanaka’ in the AJL.

Just for the sake of illustration, in 2006, year of this article, `Da Costa' accumulated 1

35 research articles published in scientific journals, along with several other interests

such as successful supervision of PhD students [DA COSTA, N. (2006)]. `Dr. Priest’,

at the same year, with a much more reduced scope of work, accumulated 114 [PRIES

T, G. (2006)]. The difference, in the figure of the papers, might not be that relevant, b

ut it is still greater to the Brazilian top theorist in the subject. Also, if put together with

other statistical factors, such as diversification of different professional tasks, it is eve

n more in favor of the Brazilian theorist, what confirms our written argumentation on

the strongest statistical support, if nothing else, to the non-ontological Paraconsistenc


This is one more argumentative line (technical), to the side of our previous assertions,

about someone who knows nothing about Logic, but wants to `bet their assets' on one

of the schools being righter than the others.

Well, all of this must have to do with translation, at some stage. Let's see...

1.4 Intersections involving Fuzzy logic, Paraconsistency, and the tech

nique of Translation

Basically, due to the extraordinary number of matches, of similar meanings, in anothe

r language, for a couple of words in a origin-language, one may think that certain lexi

con word `may be' and `may not be' what is there, stated in the dictionary. However, f

Pinheiro 9
act is that the words are always referring to something very precise in the head of thos

e writing/making use of them somehow. That is a case in which `epistemicism' applie

s. Basically, if we ever had instruments which were as accurate as the mind of the spe

aker/writer/etc, we could tell precisely the image they see (or reference) whilst speaki

ng/writing/etc, what would make of translation an easier task. However, as such is im

possible, we know there is always going to be some amount of mistake encompassed i

n each translated text (of any nature, even technical). That does not mean `it is a transl

ation' and `it is not'. It is, obviously, a translation. How perfect that translation is, is an

other matter. The ontology of the word, however, is precise, in both languages, when t

he user of those words is considered (mental images). Easy to see how Logic could ne

ver apply to words of language in general, as non-classicists would like them to. Pure

Language is where logic systems cannot really go, just like God. God can only be acc

essed (or experienced) by a person, individually, in their own degree of understanding

/realm of spiritual gifts: The same way goes language. Language is created by all of u

s, all the time; it is something `renewable', `dynamic'. However, the own lexicon is al

ways stuck in time, always behind, given that, when the words are there included, the

y have been in common use for long. Once the lexicon is the only accessible scientific

part of language, and even being so, still differs depending on who writes them, Logic

cannot, ever, deal with language. Basically, apart from everything which may be done

with language, people can still employ words vaguely (in new contexts), and are usual

ly understood, to make things worse. With a huge push, non-classicists (and Paraconsi

stency, as well as Fuzzy logic are non-classical logic systems) could think of employi

ng Logic to technical translation/lingo: That is certainly something useful and possibl

e, given legal words and scientific words are usually contained in glossaries used all o

ver the World, always referring to the same universal mental picture. Therefore, if Par

aconsistency can ever be useful to translators, or theorists in the subject, it has to be w
Pinheiro 10
here the texts are 100% technical, that is, texts where all words are contained in the re

duced technical part of Language which is already unique, and taken as standard, all o

ver the World.

Translators and theorists in the subject must know, however, that several non-classicis

ts have been creating systems for their own entertainment, with absolutely no practica

l use.

With this, those willing to pursue applications in Language, of such systems, are goin

g to be doing precursor work.

Logical systems are about reasoning and inferences, that is, what may be deduced fro

m a given set of premises.

With this, new computer programs for translators may be built based on the applicatio

n of such logical systems to the reduced scope of purely technical translations.

In general, in the case of Paraconsistency, giving up, hopefully with generalized agree

ment, on the ontological possibility, a loose translated word `may', and `may not', corr

espond to the original, in the original language, in terms of mental images, for instanc

e. Perhaps, however, two words together are definitely going to correspond, given it is

technical lingo. With paraconsistent systems, we are then allowed to make provisions

for such reasoning, and, mixing more than one logical system, we finally reach the top

competent computer program of translation in the case of technical translations, which

is fully placed under the umbrella `purely technical text'.

On the other hand, there might be a degree of closeness to the mental picture which m

ay be found by the time the translation is being made. If that degree is entered by the t

ranslator in the computer system (reliability he/she gives to their work), there might b

e more accuracy, which may even be mathematically measured, in the final document,

what is a good outcome, once nothing like that currently exists.

In the sections which follow, we write about:
Pinheiro 11
a) Section 2: The technique of Translation;

b) Section 3: Sorites and Chinese language with Fuzzy logic and Paraconsistency;

c) Section 4: Conclusion;

d) Section 5: References.

2. Translation works in general

The translation works, in general, are split into technical and non-technical works, des

pite of what `Wikipedia' states in [Wikipedia authors (2006)]. Inside of the non-techni

cal works, there are the literary translations and flicks, for instance. Interpretation, that

is, that sort of translation involving only verbal work, is considered something apart: a

nother area. These classifications are easily found in any major association of professi

onals in these fields (see for instance `Sintra' in [Sintra website authors (2006)]).

Technical translations are those which usually bring fewer options to the pair (source;

target), of language words. The source-language is that from which one wishes to tran

slate texts/words, and the target-language is that into which one wishes to translate tex


Every computer program, which makes translations in place of human beings, must m

ake use of a `translation function' which chooses `a best match', for a certain word, in

the target language.

One can easily see how Fuzzy logic adapts well here, in terms of performing the matc

hes .

It is obviously the case that the mental picture, seen by the speaker of some language,

may only be translated into the same picture into another language by a top profession

al, if all the following things take place, at the same time:

k) The speaker is an excellent communicator;

Pinheiro 12
l) The audience, as well as the professional of either translation or interpretation,

does not hold any traumas associated to the mention of the words or context, o

r even possible memories which may create interference (noise zero from envi

ronment, as we could put it) – notice here that even if we take the professional

to be 100% free from psychological/psychiatric problems regarding that pictur

e, or words, used to describe it by the speaker, or even his/her gestures, or type

of display used, there is still a problem with the reception by the audience of w

hatever the professional is stating: notice well the full human complexity invol

ved, and, so far, we are still disregarding factors such as attention, care, conce

ntration, etc.;

m) The professional who is translating, or interpreting, is an excellent communica

tor himself/herself, with no restrictions to moods, environments, audiences, et


n) The cultural understanding of the professional is broad (both sides, both cultur

es: audience - each member of the audience must be taken care of, as well as s


o) The audience is interested not only in the speaker/writer as a holistic being (ne

eded to interpret gestures, intonation, and rectify possible translation mistake

s), as well as in the contents of their speech/writing, but also in understanding

all that to their best;

p) The vehicle of delivery of the translated message is 100% well in health (migh

t be sound equipment, might be typographic service provider, etc);

q) There is contemporaneity in the immediately accessible piece of mind of all in

volved (current meaning of the words, updating).

All that stated, one can see that if the same picture is ever grasped by the majority of t

hose reading/listening to whatever the translation/interpretation professional has writt
Pinheiro 13
en/said, God was probably there. And this is no blasphemy, once wherever there is per

fection, there must be God.

3. Sorites and Chinese language with Fuzzy Logic and


We consider the amateur knowledge of ours, acquired from true Chinese people, and s

omeone else's research [XIAOQING, Z.K. (1995)], plus the Chinese dictionary [MA

NSEI, MARTIN H. (2003)], as a basis for our writings. Apparently, each word in Chi

nese (Mandarin, the main stream of Chinese) allows people to use it in at least 4 differ

ent ways via intonation (that is, the spelling goes the same way, but there is a different

intonation, or oral accent, given to the word, by the time someone utters it, which may

change its meaning completely). Going straight into the Chinese dictionary, one under

stands that the meaning is known via recursion to the next word from the text/speech.

However, the word with same spelling, and different meanings, is still there: interestin

g enough. With that as basis, we notice some differ in the sound because there is a pho

netic alphabet that comes with it, or different drawings in the same sort of symbology

(they also hold different written alphabets apparently [MD. MARUF HASAN AND Y

UJI MATSUMOTO (2000)]). Once our knowledge is superficial, and there is not muc

h romanized about the Chinese language, we try to use this piece of knowledge, along

with others, just as allurement, and write about possibilities (only).

There is apparently a confusion, once the Chinese (Mandarin) alphabet allows more s

ounds (phonetically richer) than the roman characters, when going from Chinese to an

occidental language, or vice-versa. It is easy to see how the same romanized word wo

uld be corresponding to a few variations in the Mandarin dialect by the `forceful matc

h' process, that is: in not existing enough sound expressions in our alphabet, they use t

Pinheiro 14
he closest sound, what leads to a single word in the occidental language encompassing

more than one meaning (same referent in the occidental language, meaning a range of

references, in Chinese, rather than one word, as many theorists of language would put

it). Thus, it is true that just via very brief research into the Chinese written words, we f

ind easily some words with up to 3 different meanings for the same drawing/romanize

d particle/word.

We then joyfully play with that little finding and the Sorites paradox, along with its fu

zzy account, for our readers' entertainment.

From [XIAOQING, Z.K. (1995)], we get the romanized Chinese word `jiao', for insta

nce. In the source, it is mentioned that there are four different sounds for it, the sounds

being described this way:

a) Long sound with constant pitch;

b) Short sound with rising pitch;

c) Long sound with falling/rising pitch;

d) Short sound with falling pitch.

It is not very easy to imagine a set S, for the scope of sound variations, the same way

we did with the colors, in [PINHEIRO, M.R. (2006)].

However, suppose:

S={x+α, ..., x+nα, ..., nx+α, ..., nx+mα },

for instance, as our sound variation, where x would mean `short sound', which, multip

lied by a special real number n, would give us a long one, and α would mean `falling

pitch', which may be made `rising' if multiplied by another special real number m, pas

sing by `constant’, on the way, the same way that, in the other case, it may pass via se

veral intermediaries (what would be expected, given occidental people would probabl

y hold more variations in sound emissions than the oriental people, used to their own s

Pinheiro 15
ounds, who gave origin to their systems). We all know that alphabets were designed af

ter the sounds, what means that each culture has created them based on their own abili

ties to emit sounds (occlusion matters and etc.).

The beautiful thing, with this comparison, is that we know the division exists, but it is

completely `blurred', so that it falls perfectly well into the objections to the fuzzy acco

unt on the `Sorites’ paradox, until someone is obviously able to `precisify' that, if poss

ible at all (different people might emit similar sounds and still be understood as saying

the same word).

On the other hand, `jiao' is told to have 3 different intonations, in the mentioned resear

ch work (dictionary), and they would be those listed as first, third, or fourth place, abo

ve, disclosing three different English meanings: `to teach’, `0.1 yuan’, and `to shout’.

One can easily ask then: when does `to teach' stop and `0.1 yuan' starts (by considerin

g all intermediary sounds not yet mentioned from our sound set)?

It is beautiful to see, once more, how the `Sorites' is definitely as good as Gödel’s the

orem, or as the Turing machine contests, in the sense of perceiving how meaningful to

our understanding of the World, and things which belong to it, the problem is. It is bas

ically a statement, per se, that whatever is a human expression cannot, ever, be fully tr

anslated into machine lingo, unless the human into consideration had been, by means

of disease or abnormality, changed into a less able human (retards, etc).

Once more, we understand that communication, and expression, are definitely not, an

d will never be, fully programmable, unless we do something criminal to destroy the

mental abilities of all human beings.

Notice the striking difference between the first intonation, in terms of meaning (`to tea

ch'), and the last one (`to shout'). It is not the same as `heap' and `non-heap', straight a

way, but, by means of an equivalence function between objects and human actions, it

ends up being the same, once `to teach' naturally conflicts with `to shout', in every pos
Pinheiro 16
sible pedagogical theory (once more, notice how broad the choice of contexts become

when we depart from what was already proven, by us, to lie far beyond Mathematics,

or Logic, but still supposed to be of concrete nature, to get to everything which is poss

ible in language).

The same may be said to occur in Portuguese, a very `musical' language, as most of th

e Latin languages are. If any expression is picked, at random, say: `bonito, hein?', it m

ay hold several different meanings. The just mentioned expression bears at least 3 diff

erent intonations of speech: interrogation (?), exclamation (!), assertion (.). How to tel

l one from another could easily be expressed the same way we did before with the Chi

nese word. However, If we start with full stop, the meaning is basically that somethin

g was really good, and, if we end with the question mark, there is a conflicting meanin

g, which is `what in a hell are you doing?'.

To make it all worse, however, a person may use an intonation but mean precisely the

opposite. Suffices changing what comes before and after, and it all becomes the oppos

ite. Language truly encompasses several things, still less complex than the ontology of

the being making use of it, of course.

One may easily see how translating these words and expressions, in the so called liter

ary translation mentioned before, is an actual work of patience, Logic, Mathematics, a

nd, of course, not less importantly, Arts: Bad enough for the readers of translations, an

d pleasant enough for translators (to be really entertained with their professions).

Basically, that may also happen with different cultures and same language: For instanc

e, Australian English and British English, with a Brazilian cultural understanding (bas

ed on American culture).

As an illustration of such a difficulty, even in technical translation, we mention an `ap

parently' very simple example: university courses, from Brazil, being translated into E

nglish. For a native from Australia, or Brazil, who is not ever worried about this sort o
Pinheiro 17
f issue: big deal, a course and its name is just `a course and its name'. But for those wh

o study the extenuating techniques of translation, and have been working with that am

azing set of tasks, it might be a real puzzle, where they may make use of their intuitio

n, better than anything else, and actually bring lifetime damage to a client, without ev

er realizing what they did wrong.

We pick, for instance, an example from our own experience. Once it is part of the etho

s of translation, we will never mention names. However, we know a person who had a

Bachelor of Science with a Postgraduate Diploma in Education plus Honors in Mathe

matics, and four majors in a course in Brazil. Following the tradition of technical wor

k, where amateurs reach the top cruelty of using computer programs, the words `Licen

ciatura em Matemática' got literally translated into `Teaching Certificate'. Once the do

cument was going to be used in Australia (and context is obviously part of this Art), a

Bachelor of Science, with a Pg Dip in Ed., plus Honors in Math, and four majors, bec

ame equivalent to simply `a license to teach’, which may be obtained, in Australia, in

a single year.

Basically, the professional (client of the translator) was relying on that translated versi

on of their document, and was then, therefore, severely diminished in their qualificati

ons, what, more than obviously, produces a devaluation in their market-value, somethi

ng equivalent to a lecturer being regarded as a cleaner.

Suppose we now create a set of all the possible market-values involving a person who

holds a Bachelor of Science, with Honors in Math, and a person who does not hold th

em. We now have a `Sorites', in terms of translation, because Brazil simply never calle

d its courses `Honors', which would basically mean someone was `invited' to do resea

rch works. In Brazil, up to now, everybody in the course must do the same, and resear

ch is just one subject, or several, amongst others. Not only that, but the so-called thesi

s, of a Honors course in Australia, is made by Brazilians since High School (not origin
Pinheiro 18
al works, however, at high-school level, most of the time).

It is very easy to see that, if there is cultural understanding missing, that is, if a superfi

cial learner of the `Art of Translation' (let's say someone who did not graduate in Engl

ish, is of native Portuguese background, and just sat for `Naati' tests, or even a very qu

alified Brazilian translator, who knows nothing about Australian culture) is given the a

ssignment: a lecturer might, then, end up getting cleaner's wages!

Interesting enough, we could have a `Sorites' sequence even about how good a transla

tor is, in those regards: we would start with `no understanding of cultural issues at all'

and finish with `understands all about both cultures' (clearly conflicting), once more i

n the scope of the fuzzy solution for the `Sorites' paradox.

We believe one may easily see how we could write forever on the special application

of the `Sorites', and its Fuzzy logic solution, to Language.

4. Conclusion

In this article, we have provided further tools, as well as insights, on how to deal with

the technique of translations and how `mechanizable' human productions might be. W

e believe to have added an association between translation techniques and the Sorites

paradox, as well as translation techniques and Fuzzy logic, which was never made bef

ore, to the scope of knowledge of readers from Language, Logic, and Computer Scien

ce. We have also worked towards settling the matter: `human language will never be f

ully computable'. Along with this, we try to contribute for the Art of evaluation of tran

slation professionals, and that of career design, with a few explicit insights based on a

ctual life examples.

Pinheiro 19
5. References

ANDERSON, C.A.; TERENCE, B.; TAMAR, G.; others (Note 3) (1996). Standford

Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Found online at

ISSN 1095­5054.

CASTI, JOHN (1999). Cinco Regras de Ouro. Editora Gradiva. ISBN 9726626919.



HYDE, DOMINIC (1997). [Sorites Paradox] Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

Accessed 31st Oct. 2000. Found online at Http:// ISSN


MANSEI, MARTIN H. (2003). Oxford Consise Chinese-English and English-Chines


Dictionary. Oxford University Press, 3rd ed. ISBN 7100039339.
Pinheiro 20
MD. MARUF HASAN AND YUJI MATSUMOTO (2000). Japanese-Chinese Cross

Language Information Retrieval: An Interlingua Approach. Computational

Linguistics and Chinese Language Processing Vol. 5, No. 2, August 2000, pp. 59-86.

PINHEIRO, MARCIA R. (2006). A Paraconsistent Solution to the Sorites Paradox.

PINHEIRO, MARCIA R. (2006). A solution to the Sorites Paradox. Semiotica, ¾.

PINHEIRO, MARCIA R. (2006). The implicational step in the Sorites paradox-

logical or human? Submitted,, as a preprint.

PRIEST, G. (2006). Professional webpage.

PRIEST, GRAHAM (2000). Introduction to non-classical logic: moving about in

worlds not realized. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. ISBN-10: 052179434X.

READ, STEPHEN (1995). Thinking about Logic: an introduction to the philosophy

of logic. Oxford University Press, Oxford. ISBN-10: 019289238-X.

SINTRA Website writers (1998).

Http:// Accessed in 2006.

TANAKA, KOJI (2003). Three Schools of Paraconsistency. Australasian Journal of
Pinheiro 21
Logic, July.

XIAOQING, Z.K. (1995). Grundkurs der Chinesischen Sprache. Sinolingua, Beijing,

China.ISBN (Band 1): 7-80052-476-0.

WIKIPEDIA writers (2003). Http://

logoen.png. Accessed in 2006.

ZADEH, LOFTI (1965). Fuzzy Sets. Information and Control, 8: 338-353.

ZADEH, LOFTI (1994). Preface in R.J. Marks II (ed.). Fuzzy logic technology and

applications, IEEE Publications.

Pinheiro 22

Note 1: Po Box 12396, A'Beckett st, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.


Note 2: We regard the opposite direction, in which the Sorites could go, as being logi

cally redundant.

Note 3: Please refer to the website Http://, for full list

of contributors. Edward Zalta is the editor responsible.

Pinheiro 23