Archive for translation

how to translate evidence into French?

Posted in Books, Statistics, University life with tags , , , , , on July 6, 2014 by xi'an

I got this email from Gauvain who writes a PhD in philosophy of sciences a few minutes ago:

L’auteur du texte que j’ai à traduire désigne les facteurs de Bayes comme une “Bayesian measure of evidence”, et les tests de p-value comme une “frequentist measure of evidence”. Je me demandais s’il existait une traduction française reconnue et établie pour cette expression de “measure of evidence”. J’ai rencontré parfois “mesure d’évidence” qui ressemble fort à un anglicisme, et parfois “estimateur de preuve”, mais qui me semble pouvoir mener à des confusions avec d’autres emploi du terme “estimateur”.

which (pardon my French!) wonders how to translate the term evidence into French. It would sound natural that the French évidence is the answer but this is not the case. Despite sharing the same Latin root (evidentia), since the English version comes from medieval French, the two words have different meanings: in English, it means a collection of facts coming to support an assumption or a theory, while in French it means something obvious, which truth is immediately perceived. Surprisingly, English kept the adjective evident with the same [obvious] meaning as the French évident. But the noun moved towards a much less definitive meaning, both in Law and in Science. I had never thought of the huge gap between the two meanings but must have been surprised at its use the first time I heard it in English. But does not think about it any longer, as when I reviewed Seber’s Evidence and Evolution.

One may wonder at the best possible translation of evidence into French. Even though marginal likelihood (vraisemblance marginale) is just fine for statistical purposes. I would suggest faisceau de présomptions or degré de soutien or yet intensité de soupçon as (lengthy) solutions. Soupçon could work as such, but has a fairly negative ring…

did I mean endemic? [pardon my French!]

Posted in Books, Statistics, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on June 26, 2014 by xi'an

clouds, Nov. 02, 2011Deborah Mayo wrote a Saturday night special column on our Big Bayes stories issue in Statistical Science. She (predictably?) focussed on the critical discussions, esp. David Hand’s most forceful arguments where he essentially considers that, due to our (special issue editors’) selection of successful stories, we biased the debate by providing a “one-sided” story. And that we or the editor of Statistical Science should also have included frequentist stories. To which Deborah points out that demonstrating that “only” a frequentist solution is available may be beyond the possible. And still, I could think of partial information and partial inference problems like the “paradox” raised by Jamie Robbins and Larry Wasserman in the past years. (Not the normalising constant paradox but the one about censoring.) Anyway, the goal of this special issue was to provide a range of realistic illustrations where Bayesian analysis was a most reasonable approach, not to raise the Bayesian flag against other perspectives: in an ideal world it would have been more interesting to get discussants produce alternative analyses bypassing the Bayesian modelling but obviously discussants only have a limited amount of time to dedicate to their discussion(s) and the problems were complex enough to deter any attempt in this direction.

As an aside and in explanation of the cryptic title of this post, Deborah wonders at my use of endemic in the preface and at the possible mis-translation from the French. I did mean endemic (and endémique) in a half-joking reference to a disease one cannot completely get rid of. At least in French, the term extends beyond diseases, but presumably pervasive would have been less confusing… Or ubiquitous (as in Ubiquitous Chip for those with Glaswegian ties!). She also expresses “surprise at the choice of name for the special issue. Incidentally, the “big” refers to the bigness of the problem, not big data. Not sure about “stories”.” Maybe another occurrence of lost in translation… I had indeed no intent of connection with the “big” of “Big Data”, but wanted to convey the notion of a big as in major problem. And of a story explaining why the problem was considered and how the authors reached a satisfactory analysis. The story of the Air France Rio-Paris crash resolution is representative of that intent. (Hence the explanation for the above picture.)

Méthodes de Monte-Carlo avec R [out]

Posted in Books, R, Statistics with tags , , on January 17, 2011 by xi'an

The translation of the book Introducing Monte Carlo Methods with R is now published and out! I have received five copies in the mail yesterday, although it was not produced in time for my R class students to get it before the exam today. The book is still indicated on amazon.com as appearing in February, while amazon.fr announces the publication for January 20. I am very pleased with the quality of the output, in contrast with the first printing of the English version.

Méthodes de Monte-Carlo avec R

Posted in Books, Kids, R, Statistics, University life with tags , , , , , on December 3, 2010 by xi'an

The translation of the book Introducing Monte Carlo Methods with R is close to being completed. The copy-editing and page-setting are done, I have received the cover proposal and am happy with it, so it should now go to production and be ready by early January, (earlier than the tentative end of February indicated on amazon) maybe in time for my R class students to get it before the exam. Thanks to the efforts of Pierre-André Cornillon and Eric Matzner (from the Université de Haute-Bretagne in Rennes), the move from the Use R! series format to the Pratique R series format was done seamlessly and effortlessly for me. (Again, thanks to the traductors who did produce their translations in sometimes less than a month!) I am curious to see how much of a market there is for the French translation… The Japanese translation is scheduled for August 2011 at the very least, but I am obviously not involved at all in this translation!

Beta translation done!

Posted in Books, R, Statistics, University life with tags , , , , on August 30, 2010 by xi'an

Introducting Monte CarloOnce my team of four translators had handed back to me all the chapters of the French version of Introducing Monte Carlo Methods with R to me, I had to go over the book to ensure some minimal consistency between the chapters. I started the editing in the plane to Vancouver but did not get much done until last Monday when arriving in Long Beach. After three days of hard work, here at home, I am now done with the beta version of the translation and I have sent it to the French Springer editor… I hope he will not ask for deep changes as I have absolutely no time left in my schedule for the coming months!

A summer of books

Posted in Books, R, Statistics, University life with tags , , , , , , , on July 28, 2010 by xi'an

The summer started with a research in pair session in CiRM on the R edition of Bayesian Core, but I am also involved two other book projects. The first one was mentioned in a previous post, namely the translation of Introducing Monte Carlo Methods with R into French. I have now recovered all translated chapters, involving not less than six translators! (My son completed his two last chapters while in CiRM, another benefit of the fortnight there!) So I need to get over those chapters to ensure some minimal homogeneity in the style and the notations. Not an immense amount of work given the near perfect productions of Robin Ryder, Julyan Arbel and Pierre Jacob, but still needs to be done (a perIntroducting Monte Carlofect opportunity for the long flight to Vancouver!) The second book is an edited volume following the exciting meeting on mixtures last March in Edinburgh. I have so far received twelve of the fifteen chapters from the contributors and hope against all odds to pack the volume for Vancouver, in order to discuss with the Wiley representative there. (I also hope it will be possible to include a picture I took during my trip to Ben Nevis as the cover picture..!)

Chinese versus Japanese editions

Posted in Books, R, Statistics with tags , , , on March 9, 2010 by xi'an

Last week, I got news from Springer Verlag about possibly two new editions of my books, one in Chinese and one in Japanese. These were bad news and good news: the bad news was that the Chinese edition was actually a reprint of our original book,  Monte Carlo Statistical Method, by a Chinese publishing company. Supposedly restricted to the Chinese interior market. While this agreement is within the terms of our contract, it will be disastrous for our sales of the original 2004 Springer edition since those cheaper copies have already found their way to American and European markets (I got a copy by the mail only today, but some students in the US do have it!)

I actually fail to understand the publisher’s point in giving away sales of a reasonably successful book for a cheaper version with a much lower return. Since this Chinese publisher is also (re)printing Hastie, Tibshirani and Freedman’ The Elements of Statistical Learning: Data Mining, Inference, and Prediction, as well as Erich Lehmann’s Theory of Point Estimation, we are not an isolated case. But this does not make the move less frustrating or more understandable!

The good news is about the potential translation of our book Introducing Monte Carlo Methods with R into Japanese, as was recently the case for the book of Phil Spector on Data Manipulation with R. There seems to be a reasonable market for R (and Splus) books in Japan for those translations to take place…

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