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Off topic: Translator's Lament - A Poem
Thread poster: Paula Pereira Fernandes

Paula Pereira Fernandes
Local time: 04:29
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Jun 10, 2004

Translator's Lament
(With apologies to sticklers for accurate rhymes and scansion)

To be a translator, believe me it’s sad
To be a translator you have to be mad.
Who else would sit all alone in a room
Encased in loneliness more like a tomb?

Who else would fondle a microphone cable
Or typewriter keyboard when perfectly able
To fondle some better more pliant device?
(It happens to others, they say it’s quite nice.)

Who else would apply so much love, care, devotion
To something that is another man’s notion?
Who else would spend hours to seek out one word
Just to ensure he writes nothing absurd?

Who else would read carefully through some epistle
Produced by a half-wit who had better whistle
Than write rotten copy that doesn’t mean much,
Yet expects a translation in, say, perfect Dutch?

Who else would accept that every job’s hot
When he knows jolly well that it’s probably not.
And flog himself silly to see the work through
Then wait for three months not collecting one sou?
And yet it’s a challenge which on reflection
Provides enormous job satisfaction.
Those who enjoy it will never desert
The odd fascination of the “foreign” word
-Wort, oh what the hell…

John H. Hayes
The Incorporated Linguist

[Edited at 2004-06-11 09:32]

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Lydia Molea  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:29
English to German
+ ...
LOL! Jun 10, 2004

This is great! Thanks

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Patricia Baldwin
United States
Local time: 21:29
Spanish to English
+ ...
Thank you Paula! Jun 10, 2004


Great Fun! Many thanks for the Translator´s Lament...all the translators, proofreaders and two senior editors are having lots of fun here at our publisher´s office...we all voted to have your poem posted on our walls...just a hilarious reminder of what we are...the poem not the walls...(grammatically obsessed ..who me?)

A bright spot in our day!

Cheers from Buenos Aires,


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Katherine Zei  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:29
Italian to English
+ ...
Fantastic! Jun 11, 2004

Thanks for sharing!

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Translator's Lament - A Poem

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