Translation…please!

Translation…please

You may hear these phrases from scientists, academics and other experts.  The translations here are funny and blunt.  They also indicate how such phrases can obscure and mislead.  When you hear phrases like these, sharpen your questions.

Never leave an interview without understanding exactly what’s been said – or what’s not been said.

Phrase                                                   Translation
===============================================================

It has long been known             I haven’t bothered to look up the reference

It is believed                                I think

It is generally believed               A couple of other guys think so too

It is not unreasonable to             If you believe this, you’ll believe
assume                                           anything

Of great theoretical                      I find it kind of interesting
importance

Of great practical importance     I can get some mileage out of it

Typical results are shown            The best results are shown

Three samples were chosen       The others didn’t make sense, so
for further study                             we ignored them

The four-hour sample was           I dropped it on the floor
not studied

The four-hour determination       I dropped it on the floor, but
may not be significant                   scooped most of it up

The significance of these            Look at the pretty artifact
results is unclear

It has not been possible to           The experiment was negative, but
provide definitive answers           at least I can publish the data somewhere

Correct within an order of             Wrong
magnitude

It might be argued that                   I have such a good answer for this
objection that I shall now raise it

Much additional work will be       This paper is not very good, but
required                                          neither are all the others in this
miserable field

These investigations proved          My grant is going to be renewed
highly rewarding

I thank X for assistance                 X did the experiment and Y explained
with the experiments and              it to me
Y for useful discussions
on the interpretation of
the data