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Off topic: Most interesting translation ever
Thread poster: Cristina Golab
Cristina Golab  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:26
English to Spanish
+ ...
Mar 22, 2007

Many of the translations we come accross are drop-dead boring, but sometimes an interesting project hits our screens.

In my case, I once translated a collection of Spanish recipes, which later I enjoyed on my plate!
I also translated once a power point presentation about the latest anti burglar devices. Quite, quite interesting.

How about you?


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Attila Piróth  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 20:26
Member
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Einstein's articles Mar 22, 2007

From his miraculous year, 1905. Hard to beat when you translate physics.
Perhaps the most stunning was the clarity of his arguments in the article that laid the foundation of relativity. It was published in the leading physics journal of the time, and not in a textbook, nevertheless he took great care to explain things in detail. Anyone with a fairly strong background in maths can follow the first half (kinematics). Believe me, it is a unique reading: you can see a real mastermind creating something new. (You should go with the revised English translation (On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies in John Stachel's Einstein's Miraculous Year, or, of course, the German original, Zur Elektrodynamik bewegter Körper.)
We are simply no longer used to getting scientific ideas from their source. You have a lot of great popular science books: Hawking's A Brief History of Time has been a milestone for science. But in literature, for example, it would be completely unimaginable that you can complete your university studies relying solely on textbooks, without ever reading an original text.

Attila


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 14:26
English to French
+ ...
Election boycott Mar 22, 2007

It was one of the most interesting things I translated. It was actually a presentation for a conference, based on empirical research. I learned a lot from it and I now have a deeper understanding of elections, as well as a better understanding of why sometimes elections go wrong and now I know that things can be done about that.

We are in the middle of elections here in Quebec and just having translated that piece lets me have a deeper view of the current situation.


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Burrell  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:26
Member (2004)
English to Latvian
+ ...
Murder case Mar 22, 2007

Probably sounds sick but I got to translate the legal paperwork for a very famous murder case. The details very quite graphic and I cannot say I enjoyed that part but I found out a lot more information than press has ever reported. I definitely was not bored by it.

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Esther Lavedrine
France
Local time: 20:26
French to English
SQL training Mar 22, 2007

I once translated a training guide called Introduction to SQL and by the time I had finished, I knew how to run queries in databases! It was very instructive and a lot of fun too.

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Orla Ryan  Identity Verified
Ireland
Local time: 19:26
WW2 files Mar 22, 2007

Another potentially sick one, I guess. I worked on a project for two years translating various files, witness statements and certificates from various concentration camps and German police stations for a Compensation Board.

I am a total history nut and this was like gold to me. It really brought that period to life. It was so very interesting, though devastatingly sad in parts. I still think about that project sometimes.

I've done a couple of happy lighthearted ones though.

One of my very first freelance jobs was for an American guy who wanted to woo this lady with an Irish translation of a love poem he wrote for her. The translation worked its magic and he was so happy that he had finally pulled his woman that he rounded off my invoice to $100.

Orla

[Edited at 2007-03-22 17:22]


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Glen McCulley
Local time: 20:26
French to English
+ ...
twisted kind of interesting Mar 22, 2007

Apart from a series of autopsies - which sounds sick but is I actually found quite fascinating - and other subjects of personal interest (but don't go thinking I'm 'into' autopsies, corpses and the like - just to reassure, articles on the history of feminism in sport, the anthropology of language among bull breeders for Spanish corrida versus bull breeders for Pamplona bull running, I'd add that I'm currently translating the French equivalent of teh ISO standard for reception services staff.
Not exactly 'fascinating', but very interesting when you look at the fact that what the standard is asking for from your average front-desk staff is ABSOLUTELY LIGHT YEARS AWAY from the reality of any civil service staff, 'help' desks or reception area people we're currently likely to meet in real, grass-roots France!


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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:26
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Some (edited) highlights Mar 22, 2007

Cristina Golab wrote:

Many of the translations we come accross are drop-dead boring, but sometimes an interesting project hits our screens.

In my case, I once translated a collection of Spanish recipes, which later I enjoyed on my plate!
I also translated once a power point presentation about the latest anti burglar devices. Quite, quite interesting.

How about you?


What a good thread, Cristina!
Yes, much of my work is grindingly dull, but there are quite a few highlights, too. For instance -
1. The script of a film about Pascal Paoli, the 18th century "liberator" of Corsica - I'm a great Corsica fan.
2. A book about Rembrandt.
3. A description of a perfectly oval baroque church in NE France - it sounded so beautiful, I must go and see it one day.
4. Occasional sensational international lawsuits - one in particular involving the wife of the ex-President of an African state arriving at Heathrow airport with suitcases stuffed with dollars. And many more outrageous financial swindles ...
Best wishes,
Jenny.


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Jan Willem van Dormolen  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 20:26
English to Dutch
+ ...
pickup wrecks Mar 22, 2007

Two of the most interesting jobs I have done:

- A website with the best/worst pickup lines. Very humorous, and none of them advisable in real life (including the 'best' ones)

- A request for tenders for removing shipwrecks from a harbour in Mauritania, West Africa. I've always been interested in Third World matters (done voluntary work in Togo), and it was very interesting to learn how such a big work is setup. One endearing detail was that the address where to send the tender was something like: The yellow building across the street from the mosque.


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abufaraz
Pakistan
Local time: 23:26
English to Urdu
+ ...
Tomb Stones Mar 22, 2007

Amongst the usual educational, advertisement and medical texts, I once received a different thing to translate - the scripts of the epitaphs (Tombstones) of some Indian Sufis in North India which were photographed by an American (Sufi) tourist, who wanted to know the names of persons who were lying in these graves and what else was written on the Tomb Stones.

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Anne Lee  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:26
Member (2003)
Dutch to English
+ ...
a handwritten treasure trail Mar 22, 2007

from centuries ago; a fascinating logbook of ship wrecks and buried loot. Have recently been on holiday to the Dutch Antilles where some of the action took place and had dinner in the Fort (now converted into a restaurant) where some of the prisoners were held before they escaped.

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Clare Barnes  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 20:26
Swedish to English
+ ...
Many and varied Mar 22, 2007

What a great subject!

...a guide to mediaeval pilgrim route through Sweden and Norway that passes 200m from my house
...the dodgy tax affairs of a member of a very famous pop group
...an article about corrosion in sealed fresh water systems (I know that's a wierd one, but it was such fun!)
...chapters from the Chinese - Swedish translation of The Journey to the West

Generally, anything that requires research, rather than just checking the dictionary...


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Claire Cox
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:26
French to English
+ ...
Fascinating Mar 22, 2007

- A website consisting of tourism pages for places like Croatia, Slovenia and Romania - this was some years ago, so relatively new territory for UK travellers and it sounded so interesting, it made me want to go.

- A book of recipes to accompany a well known brand of wine - yum!

- A children's fashion design CD

- A Swiss traveller's diary of life in a poor African state - beautifully written and so fascinating....

And lots more - I have lots of bread-and-butter things which are marginally less scintillating but I definitely love my job!


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:26
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
A brief history of irrigation in Spain... Mar 22, 2007

(which had enough text for a book)...

The presentation of the exhibits of the Elche archaeological museum (including the excavations in La Alcudia, where they found the Lady of Elche)...

An on-site interpretation job on the archaeological sites of Cambodia...

A guidebook to the city of Vienna...

and quite a few more I can't recall off the top of my head


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Andrea Riffo  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 14:26
English to Spanish
Please share! Mar 23, 2007

Jan Willem van Dormolen wrote:

- A website with the best/worst pickup lines. Very humorous, and none of them advisable in real life (including the 'best' ones)





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