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Off topic: Communication: Wiio's laws
Thread poster: Pamela Cruz

Pamela Cruz  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:05
Partial member (2004)
English to Spanish
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Oct 6, 2004

Hi all:

I have just came across with this -translators have a 'special mention' on comment for the third law...

1 Communication usually fails, except by accident.
1.1 If communication can fail, it will
1.2 If communication cannot fail, it still most usually fails
1.3 If communication seems to succeed in the intended way, there's a misunderstanding
1.4 If you are content with your message, communication certainly fails
2 If a message can be interpreted in several ways, it will be interpreted in a manner that maximizes damages
3 There is always someone who knows better than you what you meant with your message
When communication takes place through a translation, serious additional complications are caused. Quite often translations are made incompetently or sloppily in a haste. But even the most competent and careful translator is an additional component of the chain and inevitably distorts the message more or less. Professional translators often demonstrate law 3 well. In fact, they might even think they should "improve" the message instead of doing that by accident or by necessity (e.g. the necessity of adding interpretation to the message due to lack of sufficiently indefinite words in the target language).
4 The more we communicate, the worse communication succeeds
5 In mass communication, the important thing is not how things are but how they seem to be
6 The importance of a news item is inversely proportional to the square of the distance
7 The more important the situation is, the more probably you forget an essential thing that you remembered a moment ago
Korpela's First Corollary: If nobody barks at you, your message did not get through
Korpela's Second Corollary: Search for information fails, except by accident

Professor Osmo A. Wiio (born 1928) is a famous Finnish researcher of human communication. He has studied, among other things, readability of texts, organizations and communication within them, and the general theory of communication. In addition to his academic career, he has authored books, articles, and radio and TV programs on technology, the future, society, and politics. He formulated "Wiio's laws" when he was a member of parliament (1975--79) and published them in Wiion lait - ja vähän muidenkin (Wiio's laws - and some others'; in Finnish). (Weilin+Göös, 1978, Espoo; ISBN 951-35-1657-1).

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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:05
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
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Wiio's a very popular chap Oct 7, 2004

Wiio writes a regular colums in the leading Finnish computer magazine Tietokone. Actually Wiio was in the middle of technical developement since the fifties. He writes about his own use of information technology in a very amusing and understandable way.

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Terry Gilman  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:05
Member (2003)
German to English
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Thank you! Oct 7, 2004

Wiio is new to me.

I especially like "If nobody barks at you..."

[Edited at 2004-10-07 17:25]

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