Sunday June 1st, 2014

The exercise:

Write about: the translator.

Genevieve offered to work this morning alongside our bakery volunteer, so I actually had two helpers out there with me. It was a nice preview of what I'll get starting this Thursday (Maja is arriving in Vancouver from Denmark on Tuesday night, catching a bus to Osoyoos Wednesday morning... so I'm not expecting her to be ready to get out there until Thursday at the earliest).

We raked out a very large section of the garden and seeded some more carrots and beets. The potatoes will also be going into the other end of that section, so we'll need to get on that as soon as possible. We're a good two weeks behind on starting those.

The hope is for Genevieve and I to finish mulching the strawberries tomorrow morning, which will then free up a whole chunk of time to get back on top of things on the vegetable side of things. We'll see how that goes.


May I present to you the evolution of Max's communication skills:

To begin, let us go over what he actually said, starting around the 20 second mark of the video:

"I go."

"A ball."

"Vroom, vroom!"

Now allow me to run that through my Daddy Translator Supreme 2014 Edition:

"I'm going over there, and I'm taking the balls in the truck."

He has been saying each of those three individual phrases/sound effects for quite some time now, but only recently has he been starting to put them together in order to really communicate something.

It's... all rather strange and fascinating. And amazing, obviously.

He'll be having proper conversations with us before we know it.


Greg said...

You seem to be acquiring quite a number of young, female helpers... isn't Kat going to be wondering why there are no young, male helpers soon? ;-) Still, it sounds like you're getting caught up now at least, and that's a good thing!
Now you just need to get a PA to handle comments on the blog for you, and you'll be able to sit back, put your feet up, and live a life of leisure!
That's a sweet little video, and yeah, Max'll be talking non-stop in no time. You may look fondly back on these days... :-P

The translator
The Minister of the Left drew back the silk screen that partitioned the room just far enough for him to enter. Behind him, a woman closed the screen behind him again, and he knew that she would stand there, silently hidden, listening to the conversation. Across the room the envoy sat on the floor, cross-legged and looking uncomfortable. His hairy face brightened as he saw the Minister of the Left, and he struggled clumsily to his feet. The Minister didn't sneer, but even a five-year old could sit and stand with more elegance.
The envoy spoke, his words thick and guttural, spoken in the coarse barbarian language. The Minister smiled, keeping his face carefully blank, and turned to the little woman who was sat at the back of the room, her face turned to the floor. She was wearing a simple white silk robe, indicating her position as translator.
"The envoy greets you warmly and offers you the blessings of his ancestors," she said, her voice a mere murmur. The Minister inclined his head, well aware that the envoy hsd said, "Wotcha! Speakee English, dude?"
"Please thank him and assure him that my ancestors will watch his step while anywhere in the Undying Kingdom." There was a tonal subtlety here that made all the difference between a threat and a promise.
"Likewise, dude," said the translator to the envoy, and the Minister of the Left had to hide a smile behind his long, chinese sleeves. This translator was amusing.

Aholiab said...


I walked up behind my wife as I heard her sigh. Her shoulders were tight and I began massaging them. “What are you working on?”

“Oh, I got a free-lance translating job and now I’m beginning to wish I hadn’t accepted it.”

I glanced at the dictionaries and reference books stacked around her desk. “What is it that you’re translating?”

“It’s an old book. They wanted a French version of the story, but first I need to understand what was meant in the original English.”

I peered at the page that she was struggling with. “What’s giving you problems?”

“Look at this line: ‘This very pitiful foal is a direct descendant of Bucephalus, Alexander the Great’s favorite horse.’”

I shrugged slightly. “Is it the horse’s name? Couldn’t you just leave it the same? It’s not really an English name.”

“No, it’s the word ‘very’. Does it mean this specific foal - this very foal? Or is it saying how pitiful the foal is - very pitiful? The two meanings change the entire translation. Yet either one could be implied by the original author.”

Nodding slowly, I said, “I see what you mean. Maybe if you put that aside and see if the full context of the story will help.”

“Yeah, you’re probably right.”

I grinned and continued to rub her shoulders. “So what’s the next problem?”

“The word ‘pitiful’.”

“I’m going to get you a drink.”

“Make it a double!”

Marc said...

Greg - hey, I'm the one calling the shots around here, all right? :P

A slightly more serious interpretation: a young(ish) couple with a little boy probably seems like a safe place for a young woman travelling on her own to come live and work.

Heh, I quite like your translator as well! Seems well suited to the job :)

Aholiab - haha, I think a strong drink is definitely in order here! Perhaps more than one...