Monday, October 18, 2021


I had never really thought about it before....but imagine, translating a poem from Latin into English. I dare say that would be more difficult than simply translating a book but perhaps on par with translating a song. Far beyond my meager language skills.

Still, I once served very briefly with a Reserve LT who was riding our ship on his AT and he translated things from the Russian into English. I was quite amazed and asked how well he spoke Russian and his reply lingers to this day, "Can't speak a word of Russian. I just take the articles Navy Intelligence sends me and crack open the Russian-English dictionary and look up all the words.

I somehow sense that American Intel has never really matured from that point and that all of our Intel comes through a similar fountain of mis-knowlege of purpose, intent, plan and deed.

Try some Juvenal and see how it fits today.


Anonymous said...

A literal translation of 'green hat' from Chinese text can REALLY miss the point.

HMS Defiant said...

Have we done with the Deming way and the rest of the shower that followed it or are there blackbelts in management?

Matthew Noto said...

"Intelligence" has often been a misnomer, and America is not the only country infected with the ignoramus in this regard.

Two anecdotes from World War 2, regarding the Germans, supposedly he most-through and efficient in all things:

1. Hitler was ecstatic at the news of the Japanese attack on pearl Harbor, believing he could not now lose the war. He told his cronies that Germany now had an ally that had not been defeated in 3,000 years on their side.

His balloon was soon popped when he discovered that not a single one of his intelligence officers actually knew where Pearl Harbor was.

2. Prior to the invasion of the USSR, Heinz Guderian, writing an estimation of Russian capabilities, projected that the Russians could put 27,000 front-line tanks in the field on Day One. His estimate was considered by his superiors to be wildly inaccurate, and they downgraded this number to 10,000. This would outnumber the German panzer divisions by a factor of roughly three to one.

It turned out Guderian was correct, causing Hitler to admit privately a year later that had he known the truth -- he was outnumbered by 8 or 9 to one -- he never would have invaded in the first place.

HMS Defiant said...

What is real is hard to tell with Russia. I believe the source that recently wrote that Stalin planned to attack Germany when she got stuck into France. Stalin was no dummy and he knew the shape of things to come and that Germany would be utterly vulnerable once she got stuck into France. That's how the first World War worked out but the revolution gutted the Russian armies until the soviets gained control.