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This is the first sentence of an introductory paragraph

Translation of scientific texts has a long history in North Africa.

Does it sound right? Should it be:

The translation of scientific texts has a long history in North Africa.

Could you please explain why it should or should not be used here?

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    I agree with you. The version with the added the sounds better.
    – Joseph R.
    Sep 15, 2013 at 14:54
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    The second sentence implies that we are talking about translations that have already been mentioned previously.
    – Nate
    Sep 15, 2013 at 15:10
  • @Nate but as I mentioned before this is the first sentence of an introductory paragraph. Do you think the sentence without the sounds better here? I don't know why it sounds awkward to me.
    – rery
    Sep 15, 2013 at 15:40
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    THE essesntially means "THAT instance of what you, my dear listener, and I are talking about, that you are perceiving as we speak—and I know you are, coz I can see it in your mind, I'm looking right at it. You are able to instantiate it because you know what class of thing it is, and you know it either because you have been partaking in the collective knowledge of our relevant community (exophoric reference) or because I've just a moment ago painted you a picture of it (anaphoric ref.), or because I've just signalled you that I'm about to paint it and you're anticipating it (cataphoric r.)"
    – Talia Ford
    Sep 15, 2013 at 15:49
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    in 'Translation of scientific texts has a long history in North Africa.' no instantiation can possibly be made, becuase the speaker's intention is to reference not an element of the class (a 'set' for the mathematically inclined) called "TRANSLATION (of something)" a.k.a. "TRANSLATING (something)", but rather to reference the entire class. It doesn't matter at all whether the picture of the thing is already in the listener's mind (via 1 of the 3 types of referencing). The speaker wants to direct the listener's attention to the whole class per se, and English grammar capacitates him to do that.
    – Talia Ford
    Sep 15, 2013 at 16:00

1 Answer 1

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The first sentence could be correct if you use "Gerund" for like:

Translating scientific texts has a long history in North Africa.

Otherwise you should use the second sentence.

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