Monday, 31 March 2008


My deadline was today, and I returned my translation (all 100,000 words of it) a couple of hours ago.

Free, free at last! If only...

I now have to do all the chores I’ve put aside over the last few weeks.

I’m feeling a bit dazed.

See you later. An awful lot of things have annoyed me recently and not being able to vent has been rather frustrating. Grrr!

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

‘Nuff said

If you think God moves in a mysterious way, you haven’t dealt with Ticketmaster.


Monday, 24 March 2008

Normal service...

...will be resumed soon. But not just yet.

While I’m here: I have read all emails sent to me. They will be answered as soon as I have a moment.

See you later.

Thursday, 13 March 2008

Still around

I am in ‘Positively Last Read Mode’ at the moment. My deadline is almost upon me. My faithful readers (I may have one or two) will remember I’ve been translating a novel for the past several years – that’s what it feels like, anyway. ‘Positively Last Read Mode’ is when you want to slap yourself for being so stupid earlier and writing weird sentences that no human being – not even a French one – would ever say. ‘Positively Last Read Mode’ is when common sense comes back to you at last (no common sense – no translator). ‘Positively Last Read Mode’ is also when the Translation Fairy finally appears. You’ve called her to the rescue several times before, but she always waits until the last minute to turn up. She sits on your shoulder and whispers in your ear, ‘Change this sentence like so. You’ll see: it’ll be much better’. I always follow her advice: she’s never let me down.

Anyway, all the above to explain why I’ve been a bit elusive recently. It doesn’t mean I don’t get mad at things; it just means I don’t have enough energy to share my anger with you lot.

In case you all go away and never come back (we wouldn’t want that, would we?), here’s a medley of blood-pressure-raising stuff.

Today, dear readers, I’m slapping:

* Our Chancellor of the Exchequer: yesterday was Budget Day and, as usual, I’m gonna be worse off.

* The builders who’ve been renovating the bathroom in the flat next door: they should have finished last week and, guess what, they haven’t yet. I don’t mind the noise they make in the course of their work (can’t be helped), but if they carry on slamming the front door, which is, like, two inches from mine, every time they go in and out (and there’s a lot of comings and goings all day), I will come out with a big kitchen knife and stab them in their newly installed shower. Ee ee ee ee ee!

* Hospital food. I haven’t been in hospital recently (thank god) and I hope I don’t in the near future, but I saw a TV programme about it last night and it is a disgrace. No, you have no idea how bad it is. There are no guidelines regarding hospital meals: it’s up to each NHS trust to set their own standards. And they only have something like £2.10 to spend on each patient per day. Do not get ill in this country: you will be well cared for but you will starve to death: no one will help you eat your meals if you’re incapacitated; they won’t give you a spoon to eat the disgusting soup they’ve plonked in front of you and then they’ll take the tray away and write ‘Meal refused’ on your chart. Things like that. A disgrace, I tell you.
Stay healthy!

See you later: the Translation Fairy is calling...

Addendum: The Translation Fairy has another name: Adrenaline. What she can’t stop you from doing, the mischievous little minx, is opening a previous version of your translation, working away on it for a while and suddenly thinking, ‘I could have sworn I spent two hours yesterday formatting the b***** thing. What’s happened to it?’

Stay healthy, and don’t forget to label your files unambiguously!

Saturday, 8 March 2008

Only one choice, really

What does the word ‘ethnic’ mean? Choose the sentence that conveys its meaning accurately:

1) I bought this lovely Kenyan bracelet in an ethnic shop in Camden Town.

2) This delicious French jam comes from an ethnic grocer’s in South Kensington.

OED definition of ‘ethnic’:
a. Pertaining to race; peculiar to a race or nation; ethnological. Also, pertaining to or having common racial, cultural, religious, or linguistic characteristics, esp. designating a racial or other group within a larger system; hence (U.S. colloq.), foreign, exotic.

b. ethnic minority (group), a group of people differentiated from the rest of the community by racial origins or cultural background, and usu. claiming or enjoying official recognition of their group identity.

To my US readers: although the OED mentions ‘foreign’ as a possible meaning for ‘ethnic’, you have to use your common sense here and understand it is ‘foreign’ as in ‘exotic’. European products/goods are not ‘exotic’ – at least to people of other Western countries, who share the same ‘culture’. The word does not apply to them. If you do use it in that way, you end up with preposterous sentences like 2).

What does the word ‘antisemitic’ mean?

1) Mr Abdul Hussein claimed he had been the victim of an antisemitic attack.

2) Three youths subjected Mr Solomon Isaacs to a torrent of antisemitic abuse.

OED definition of ‘antisemitic’:
Hostility to or prejudice against Jews.

Forget the etymology, which includes all Semitic groups: ‘antisemitic’ is used exclusively to mean hostility towards Jews. I believe anyone who insists that the word should be used in its larger meaning (as I’ve read on a blog recently) is, in fact, harbouring antisemitic views.


Oh, hold on, Happy International Women’s Day!

Friday, 7 March 2008

The evidence of one’s own eyes

Are the Palestinians going to deny rejoicing in the streets over the murder of eight Israeli students in Jerusalem tonight, just as they denied jumping for joy when the Twin Towers collapsed?

Is the BBC going to boycott those disgusting images tomorrow, just as they stopped showing those same images in September 2001?

I saw them – both times.