In Defense of the Untranslatable 

There's Value in the Mystery When Feelings Exceed the Words We Have to Define Them

As usual, e.e. cummings was on to something. We feel before we think. Words are a process built to describe—to translate—those feelings into thoughts with agreed-upon meanings. So far, so good. But feelings are anything but a zero-sum game; there is always a remainder, a residue, that most words cannot fully describe. Feelings are not mathematical, and even math has amounts left over after computation.

Feelings are more complex than the systems describing them. Sure, feelings might begin with the initial electric impulses fired from neuron to neuron within our brains, but soon enough the nuance of personal experience kicks in, way before any of us can …

The Indian “Princess” Who Said What She Thought

As a Translator for the Northern Paiute, Sarah Winnemucca Was an Outspoken Critic of Their Harsh Treatment in the American West

For the first few years of her life, Sarah Winnemucca, who was born around 1844, did not know that she was American. Born Thocmetony (Shell Flower) among the Numa (known …