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English as the Language of Science It is easy to overestimate the need for translation if one simply looks at the rapidly increasing volume of scientific literature being published throughout the world. The United States is in a particu- larly fortunate position because English is the predominant language of science. A survey tR. T. Beyer, "Hurdling the Language Barrier, Phys. Today 18 (1), 46 (19 65~1 of 3,000 abstracts listed in Physics Abstracts and 3 50 physics abstracts listed in Referativny Zhurnal gave the following results: Language of Paper Referativny Abstracted Physics Abstracts Zhurnal . . English 76 percent 63 percent Russian 14 percent 24 percent French 4 percent 3 percent German 4 percent 2 percent Other 2 percent 8 percent Although the ratio of English-language articles to non-English articles varies with the subject field, it is generally true that the English-speaking scientist has less need to read in a foreign lan- guage or to have translations made than does a scientist of any other native tongue. 4