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Language and Machines: Computers in Translation and Linguistics (1966)

Chapter: Appendix 4. Public Law 480 Translations

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Suggested Citation:"Appendix 4. Public Law 480 Translations." National Research Council. 1966. Language and Machines: Computers in Translation and Linguistics. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9547.
Page 41
Suggested Citation:"Appendix 4. Public Law 480 Translations." National Research Council. 1966. Language and Machines: Computers in Translation and Linguistics. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9547.
Page 42

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Appendix 4 Public Law 480 Translations The National Science Foundation is responsible for conducting a science-information program financed exclusively with excess foreign currencies that have accrued to the credit of the U.S. Government from the sale of U.S. surplus agricultural commodities in a number of foreign countries. Title I of the Agricultural Trade Development and Assistance Act of 19 54 (Public Law 480), as amended, authorized the President to enter into agreements with friendly nations for the sale abroad of U.S. surplus commodites for foreign currencies. These currencies are inconvertible and may not be used outside the country involved. Under the law cited above, U.S. Government agencies are autho- rized to use foreign currencies "to collect, collate, translate, ab- stract, and disseminate scientific and technological information and to conduct research and support scientific activities overseas in- cluding programs and projects of scientific cooperation between the United States and other countries." In January 1959, the President assigned to the Foundation the responsibility for initiating a unified coordinated program for meeting the requirements of the agencies of the Executive Branch for translation and other science-information activities authorized under Public Law 480. The Foundation entered into contracts with Israel and Poland in 19 59 and with Yugoslavia in 19 60. Each contract provides for trans- lation and publication of scientific literature and patents, translation and preparation of abstracts (in cooperation with U.S. abstracting and indexing services), publication of critical review papers, com- pilation of bibliographies, and the preparation of guides to their scientific institutions and information systems. At the present time, the Foundation coordinates and administers this program for the l:)epartments of the Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, and Health, Education and Welfare, the Atomic Energy Commission, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the Smithsonian Institution. 41

The Foundation does not select the material to be translated. The selection is done by research scientists in the participating l federal agencies. In Poland, Polish scientific information is trans- lated; in Yugoslavia, Yugoslavian material; and in Israel mainly, although not exclusively, Russian scientific literature. Russian books and monographs must have been published at least 1 year before they are translated by the overseas contractor; Yugoslavian and Polish journals only are translated on a current basis. The translation programs overseas are supplemental to, and not com- petitive with, the "domestic" translation program. In these pro- grams no dollar expenditures are involved. The combined efforts of the programs in Israel, Poland, and Yugoslavia represent the translation and republication of about 250,000 pages of foreign scientific literature (95 volumes of scien- tific journals, 374 books, 1,004 selected articles, 18,495 abstracts, 13,000 patents).* This covers the period from Fiscal Year 1959 through fiscal 19 65. *The statement above was taken from "A Summary of U.S. Translation Activities" (in Seminar on Technical and Scientific Translation Apr. 15- , 17, 1965, Indian National Scientific Documentation Centre, New Delhi) by Ernest R. Sohns of the Office of Science Information Service, National Science Foundation. The Committee appreciates Dr. Sohns' cooperation in providing this report. 42

Next: Appendix 5. Machine Translations at the Foreign Technology Division, U.S. Air Force Systems Command »
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