15 Feb 2006

between creation and translation

Let's start with the Oxford English Dictionary:

Creation: the action or process of bringing something into existance
Translation: the conversion of something from one form or medium to another

Expression: the process of making known one's thoughts or feelings

They are similar because they all generate something in a particular medium or context. They all have the same result. They are different because they start in different places.

Creation starts with nothing and adds something totally new. Translation starts with a source and adds nothing to it.

Expression lies in between. The process of "making known". It is translation because an expression simply points to something that previously existed. It looks like creation, because before the expression, that which is expressed was unknown.

Translation takes something visible and makes it comprehensible. Creation has nothing and makes something. Expression takes something unkown and makes it knowable.

Maybe the Author should say that software engineering is the process of expressing human desires as computer actions. The Author is right to say that translation is a powerful word, though it exists only as an aid to expression.

A software engineer doesn't translate someone's desires into computer actions, he helps people express themselves with computers.

Authors writes in their own language. Their work is later translated to other languages. The software engineer helps his clients to write directly in a language they do not know. What makes the job challening is that language affects how you think and the client must be able to express themselves as natives in a language they do not speak.

Expression: simultaneous creation and translation.