Steinbeck seeks to understand the difficulties his interpreters faced when supporting him on his trip to the Soviet Union with Robert Capa. The language difference wasn’t the real issue, it was bridging the thinking gap.
‘The answers I was supposed to have given did not very closely approximate what I had said. This was not done on purpose; it was not even the difficulty of trying to communicate from one language to another. It was more than language. It was translation from one kind of thinking to another.’
Source: John Steinbeck, A Russian Journal, with photographs by Robert Capa (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1999 (1948)), p. 105
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