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#19 - Any literary translation is a compromise between two

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Please post below with any questions!
mv2484
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Thanks for posting this, Admin! My question is: would it essentially have been quicker/easier to look at this question in terms of the "new element" in the conclusion? I realized that "at best a flawed approximation of the original work" doesn't show up anywhere until the conclusion, and we need to link compromise :arrow: at best a flawed approximation...

and (d) is the only answer choice that has "flawed approximation" in the necessary condition.
Jonathan Evans
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MV2484,

Certainly, you've done a very good job coming up with a prephrase for this question. You are trying to strengthen the argument by finding a principle (a rule) that will suggest that the information in the premises is very good support for the claim made. The conclusion says that the circumstances described will lead to "at best a flawed approximation." You have set up the conditional correctly here. All around good job.
15veries
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Hi,

Just wanted to double check...
So E is wrong because "not even" is the issue here right?
And D is better because of "any" which is very inclusive so this includes "the most skillful translation" too.
Sorry for a lot of grammar mistakes in my previous posts...for some reason I feel so tired these days. If you do not understand what my questions are please let me know.
Adam Tyson
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Hey 15v, thanks for asking, and no worries about being tired and flubbing any grammar. We all know how tiring studying for the LSAT can be!

In answer E, the problems have nothing to do with "not even", and D isn't better because of "any". The reason D is a better answer than E is what mv2484 pointed out. The conclusion brings up a new or "rogue" element, the idea of "flawed approximation". To strengthen the claim that any translation will be, at best, a flawed approximation, we need to talk about flawed approximation!

Imagine, if you will, that the conclusion of this argument was, instead, the following: "Thus, even the most skillful translation will be at best an insult to the original author." Clearly, to strengthen that claim you would need to link the premises (about making compromises) to the totally new, out of the blue claim about insulting the author. If you don't talk about what makes it an insult, there's no way you will be strengthening the claim about it being an insult!

The same thing is at work here, although it may be more subtle. Since the conclusion (which is what we want to strengthen) brought up a new idea, one that up to that point was completely absent from the argument, the only way we can strengthen it is by talking about it. Since answer E doesn't talk about "flawed approximation", it can't help a conclusion about "flawed approximation". Only answer D makes that connection, so only answer D should even be a contender here.

Arguments with obvious gaps like this one can lead to strengthen questions, justify questions, and assumption questions, and they will all have essentially the same answer, one that fills in the gap and connects the premises to the new element in the conclusion. They can also lead to weaken and flaw questions. In a weaken question with an obvious gap, the answer would attempt to show that the premises do not lead to that conclusion, that the gap may not be closed. In a flaw question with a gap like this, the answer would simply point out the gap and show that there may not be a bridge from the premises to the conclusion (or "the author has assumed without justification that [the premises] always lead to [the rogue element in the conclusion]."

LSAT arguments are like subway stations: mind the gap!
Adam M. Tyson
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mankariousc
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Hello!

I am struggling to see why B is wrong. Could you show me how you would diagram this stimulus and the correct answer?

Thanks!
Jonathan Evans
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Hi, Mankariousc,

Good question. The issue with answer choice B concerns an issue central to both conditional reasoning and arguments in general.

Essentially, arguments attempt to establish that:

    IF we are given a set of premises, THEN the conclusion must necessarily follow.
Apply this structure to the argument in the stimulus:

    IF translations cannot both (1) be faithful to the original meaning AND (2) be faithful to the author's style, THEN any translation will at best be a flawed approximation.
Note that the author attempts to show that her conclusion necessarily follows from the facts given. Look again at answer choice B. How does "a translation is flawed" appear in the conditional given in this answer choice? It appears not as a necessary condition/outcome but rather as a sufficient condition.

Thus, answer choice B is in a sense akin to a Mistaken Reversal™ error. The arrow is pointing in the wrong direction!

I hope this helps.
erust2
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I hate to confuse things here, but I chose E because I rushed through the question stem itself. I was thinking “Most Strongly Supported”, which led me to E. I don’t want to muddy the waters, but, although E is the wrong answer, it is still supported by the stimulus. Is that correct? And therefore E would at least be a contender if the question stem asked for “Most Supportd”.
Jonathan Evans
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Hi, Erust,

Not at all. While (E) might be a contender on a hypothetical Must Be True question that used this stimulus, it is somewhat unlikely that (E) would be a credited response for such a question.

The stimulus states that the two goals cannot be entirely reconciled while answer choice (E) states that not even the most skillful translation could (1) be faithful to both the literal meaning of the text and (2) the original author’s style. The stimulus does not rule out the possibility that such a translation could be partially faithful to both. Since there is no qualification about degree of faithfulness in this answer choice, I would be skeptical of it.

Fortunately, we do not really have to contend with this issue of degree/nuance here since it's a different kind of question, but good job with your analysis and thank you for the good question.