In science, if I want to falsify someone's theory, then before embarking on a venture to do such, I need to be able to correctly interpret what the theory states. From what I have read about Quine's indeterminacy of translation thesis [(1), (2), (3)], I'm under the impression that the language used to express a scientific theory is indeterminate.
I'll give an example:
Mixing aqueous sodium hydroxide [NaOH (aq)] and aqueous hydrochloric acid [HCl (aq)] will give an aqueous solution of salt [NaCl (aq)].
On the surface, it might seem obvious to anyone who has taken first-year chemistry what this scientific theory is communicating as an idea. However, from what I've read about Quine's indeterminacy of translation thesis, anyone hoping to make sense of the statement needs to recognize that there is indeterminacy to be had in making sense of the statement. Such indeterminacy prevents the actual meaning of the statement (if any meaning actually exists) from being correctly interpreted.
First, there is the analysis of what each term in the statement is referring to: There is doubt to be had as to the meaning of any term, which is signified in Quine's inscrutability of reference argument (if I grasp correctly).
Secondly, there is the meaning of the statement as a whole, which relates to the holophrastic indeterminacy argument by Quine.
Let's say I were to test the person's theory in an effort to falsify it. First, I mix an aqueous solution of sodium hydroxide and an aqueous solution of hydrogen chloride as I interpret was being asserted to be the correct solutions. I argue that I've acquired a solution of NaCl along with water and varying concentrations of hydrogen, hydroxide, sodium, and chloride ions. From my observations, I argue that the person's scientific theory has been falsified: There was more than NaCl (aq) as a result.
The person could rebuttal that I have incorrectly interpreted ("translated") the meaning of his or her stated scientific theory and that his or her stated theory is still not falsified.
It appears that there is no criterion to use with which to resolve this matter and that people are left to theorizing what some scientific theory is postulating. For instance, if I were to argue with the person who stated the scientific theory, I could only theorize about whatever I consider to be a behavioral assent or dissent to my interpretation of his or her language to be a correct interpretation: There is always room for doubt as to the actual meaning of some word or statement that cannot be reasonably dismissed because I am not in absolute control of the truth of the matter.
Relative to Quine's indeterminacy of translation thesis, was it ever resolved for a person to deduce what a scientific theory states?
It seems to me that the resolve is intersubjectivity. Not that intersubjectivity necessarily resolves the matter, but intersubjectivity opens the door for people to either agree or disagree as to whether or not you've falsified the theory (as they have interpreted the meaning of the theory--and its part--to be defined as). The caveat to this presumed resolve, however, is the irony that any language (such as an assent or dissent) from others as to whether or not the theory has been falsified is, too, linguistically indeterminate. As such, it may not indeed be a resolve.