The Little Translator claws his way back: http://www.proz.com/topic/85405
The Little Translator goes for the Big Lie: http://www.proz.com/topic/86945
The Little Translator meets the Mob: http://www.proz.com/topic/88711
The Little Translator runs into Brookesduddy: http://www.proz.com/topic/90107
The Little Translator runs into Brookesduddy (II): http://www.proz.com/topic/91508
The Little Translator turns Little Detective: http://www.proz.com/topic/91763
“They haven’t heard the last of me, that’s for sure”, I mused grimly as I put down the phone after my failed attempt to secure justice for a wife done to death while the police bungled.
Unfortunately I can’t tell you yet about how I subsequently immersed myself in the case, thereby creating the somewhat unimaginative title “The Little Translator turns Little Detective (II)” until, oh, until at least next year.
No, as luck would have it, my amateur sleuthing had to be shelved for a while, for meanwhile one of my new customers rang to tell me about a new job. “Nothing technical”, he chirped. “Not at all. Easy stuff. Dead easy, really.”
I was in a bad enough mood already because of the police annoyance, but do you know, it’s beginning to irk me more than a little when I hear that word from customers – easy – and he’d already said it twice in as many seconds. Easy. A mere nothing, mate. A trifle, a cinch, wee buns, easy as taking candy from a baby. A big easy.
Any fool could do it.
Easy. Not technical. Does this mean that if a text isn’t easy, it’s technical? What IS this business about technical? Does technical mean difficult? Not if you’ve been doing it for years, presumably. And if it isn’t “technical”, it’s easy?
I put my hand over the phone for a second and growled at it like a Rotweiler, just to vent my irritation but not let it show to the customer. A technique I use – very useful for telephonic manoeuvres. I then removed my hand and grinned like a Cheshire cat down the receiver. “That’s absolutely marvellous”, I answered merrily. “What’s it about, then?”
“Oh, it’s just some Town Hall web page, nothing special, all the tourist attractions, all the town has. Very, very easy indeed. Real easy stuff.”
I had a little difficulty prising my teeth apart again enough to take my leave of him on the phone, but I had a look at the text. I’m beginning to disagree about this technical thang. If you have a technical translation, it may delve into hydraulics and electrics, mechanical and chemical engineering and all the rest, but at least in general it behaves itself, sticks to the theme, and stays technical. It doesn’t flit around from magnetic particles to haberdashery to macro-economics to serious trauma to the Council of Europe. I’ve been on a few of these Town Hall web page trips now, and this one was no different. “Technical-plus”, I call them now. You need vocabulary for everything in there, not just manifolds and star delta motors.
The local authorities like to kick off with “History of our Town”. Sounds innocent enough, doesn’t it? But they mean History back to the year dot, of course, with portions of the Edict of Nantes, Treaty of Utrecht, Torquemada’s reports for the Spanish Inquisition (“I wasn’t expecting the Spanish Inquisition”, you think to yourself – only certain readers will understand that one, it must be said, for, as every skoolboy kno, nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition), Magna Carta, Papal Bulls mentioning this wretched godforsaken hamlet because some saint had an encounter with the Virgin on a hill, whatever. All in the original language of 500 years ago, which now bears little resemblance to the one you’re meant to be translating, just to make it that little bit more difficult for the translator.
But thank God it’s not technical.
You limp painfully on to “Composition of the Town Council”, and suddenly you’re trying to find translations for the posts held by all the Mayor’s deputies, all the departments and committees with titles a mile long. If you’re really unfortunate, you may even find each of the main bigwigs has their CV posted on the web too, so there you will be toiling away translating the life of X, who holds the post of Senior Advisor to Y, Assistant Head of the Mayoral Office and External Relations. X, you are interested to learn, worked between 1998 and 2003 in the Accounts Section of the Department for Incentives and Economic Promotion, before moving on to take up duties as Assistant to the Head of the Department of Whatever. Ad nauseam, Brookesduddy would say.
“Phew, I’ve got through that”, you say to yourself, gulping back another coffee, “Good job it wasn’t technical. So what’s next?”
Next up is “Tourism - Local Monuments”. Er, do they have a Gothic/Romanesque/Neo-Gothic church in this town, at all? No, they have all three, and fiercely proud of them they are too. So proud, in fact, that they’ve asked some local aesthete to write a few little pieces on them for the website, and thus it’s not long before you’re drowning in an orgy of stellar vaults, apses, naves, chancels, retrochoirs and lancet arches.
But it could have been worse – it could have been technical, this translation.
Then they switch to “Local Economy”, and so you plunge into the town’s five-year plans and initiatives with more long titles, percentage comparisons with the retail price index, LIBOR, MIBOR, and EURIBOR and all the rest, perhaps a few impenetrable and incomprehensible graphs thrown in for good measure.
But hey hey, it’s your lucky day, because you remember with relief that it’s not technical. You put in the last full stop, and look at the next section. “Local Businesses”.
“For crying out loud”, you gasp, “What’s all this?”
All these companies, with a brief description of what they do. Metal-stamping, chrome-plating, round bars, household appliances, wall-to-wall carpeting, agricultural machinery, acid baths …...
TECHNICAL!!!! Wot a swizz.
So I rang him back on this one after I’d had a look. “Got to put the price up”, I said.
“You what? But it’s EASY!! No technical stuff.”
“Exactly”, I told him. “That’s why I’m charging you more. Because it isn’t technical.”
And so, to finish off, on the last day of the year, Little Translator wishes to salute his new-found colleagues in his own language. Perhaps you can do the same in your own language, whatever it is. Mine’s pretty simple, but I like it:
A HAPPY NEW YEAR 2008 TO EVERYONE EVERYWHERE!!!
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