Honored Justices, We Respectfully Disagree

My spiders bring back some strange things from time to time … a case in point is an item from the Courthouse News Service regarding a suit brought by a Japanese baseball player … inter alia they suggest:

A divided Supreme Court vacated that decision Monday, finding that the statute that compensates prevailing litigants for “interpreters” is limited to the cost of oral translation, and does not include the cost of document translation.
“Based on our survey of the relevant dictionaries, we conclude that the ordinary or common meaning of ‘inter­preter’ does not include those who translate writings,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote for the majority. “Instead, we find that an interpreter is normally under­stood as one who translates orally from one language to another. This sense of the word is far more natural. As the Seventh Circuit put it: ‘Robert Fagles made famous translations into English of the ‘Iliad,’ the ‘Odyssey,’ and the ‘Aeneid,’ but no one would refer to him as an English ­language ‘interpreter’ of these works.”

No one? I think every Classics person on the planet would automatically reply that all translations are interpretations. It’s one of the primary reasons we desire to read primary sources in their original language! But then they seem to be using ‘translation’ and ‘interpretation’ somewhat differently than we do; I guess we’re neither “ordinary” nor “common”.

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