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Quality Policy

This article, dedicated to discussing the quality policy that I adopt in my professional translation work, is a very long one, as I realise that quality in translation is always invoked (for obvious reasons), but it can be very hard to discuss it clearly (especially without a pen and paper, and without the availability of “other things”, if you ask me). And let’s not forget that, when someone reads some text in their mother tongue only to find that it has the poor translation factor, they are frequently at a loss to suggest what might have been meant – even if they had the original to hand, people request translations precisely because they can’t understand something that is written in another language!

One thing that everyone does agree on is that discussion of the “quality” of translated material is an extremely common occurrence – I would agree that even people who are not very well educated, when reading something that is a translation into their own language of something, can be quick to find something that “just isn’t correct” / “just doesn’t work”, without really trying. In a world where speaking more than one language is accepted as very important to many people’s life’s prospects – indeed, more businesses than ever are currently asking for translations of their material so that they may be able to find customers abroad – no-one should forget that people are quick to respond to bad translation all the time; indeed, people are quick to point out things as “literal translation” (or what they consider to be “literal translation”) all the time, and, depending on the circumstances, frown upon it. Such people, if they know that something is a translation of something else, will not hide their willingness to criticise the words that are used with a certain level of passion and pride, whether or not they would know how to define such a choice that they make, such as I just did in this sentence. While no French person, no matter how stupid, would write “Je veux à sortir école” expecting it to pass for a valid translation of the English sentence “I want to leave school”, it can be hard, even for linguistic professionals, to provide a full account of the full range of meanings attributed to “literal” or “inaccurate” translation.

So how would I describe “poor translation” in my own words? Well, as already implied above, it is quite a wide-reaching topic. (I have tried to keep this bit as brief as possible without over-generalising.) Even today I sometimes read bad translations that have been referenced as such, just for fun – even professional translation agencies include lists of bad translations on their websites as something of an educational / humour element – and I have to say that I personally do not always regard mere incorrectly spelled words in translated material as justification for calling that material a “bad translation”, even though that label may well be valid. In the book “Lost In Translation” (Charlie Croker), there’s one entry referring to a “restaurant and bra” advertised in China, but I only call that a “bad translation” to a certain extent, because no native English speaker needs to think to realise that it should have been “restaurant and bar.” However, there are times when incorrectly spelled words – often written as the correct spelling of a completely different word (ever seen “your” written when it should have been written as the abbreviation of “you are”?) – genuinely do impede understanding. A notice on a soup terrine in a German cash-and-carry store once said, “Pie Soup” – I think they meant “pea soup”, but I was genuinely unable to come up with this idea the first time I read this, and long after that.

In other cases, what qualifies bad translations as such is awkward wording / sentence structure. I’ve read some bad English translations which, while they use proper English words throughout, are blatant bad translations because they fail to adhere to some very fundamental rules of English. For example, this is a subtitle quote taken from a Western film shown in Japan (Casablanca). Instead of “Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine”, I read, “In all towns of the all worlds of all gin, her it connects to my ones which you walk.” Other bad translations are written in perfectly valid English but still conspicuously less than coherent as a result of poor word choice; like the sign that said, “Please don’t surpass the cautionary driftwood while having the aquatic visiting.” Confusing? Perhaps establishing the context / circumstances will help to clarify things. The source where I read about this sign says that it was seen in the “Yudu scenic spot in China”, which has let me conclude that it is supposed to be understood as referring to wooden railings positioned between visitors of the park and a body of water located in the park (hence the “aquatic” bit) and when the visitors visit this body of water these wooden railings are there to prevent people from getting too close to it, for safety reasons (hence the “cautionary” bit).

I fully believe that I should also mention that, with some bad translations, unwise word selection was responsible for the content not only failing to enable the intended readership to understand what was meant, but it also veritably suggested something else entirely; something which tends only to make it harder to understand what was meant. And I am aware that there are cases of this where the alternative thing suggested will instantly be taken as rude or offensive, or liable to cause embarrassment. The government in Seoul, South Korea, established a hotline for taxi passengers who encountered rudeness, and a sign in taxis which referred people to it listed it as the “Intercourse Discomfort Report Center.” I have seen bad translations where I have sympathised not only with the intended readership but also those who composed them. Like the English “Do Not Enter” sign written by a Japanese person, which stated, “Don’t get into this.” Another English sign written by someone who was Japanese was a road sign which said, “Stop. Drive sideways” – a sign which is to be recognised as a traffic diversion instrument, telling people, “This road is blocked; you cannot drive straight on at this point. Drive down the side road that you can see.”

Even the language used by native speakers (including educated ones) can “stand out” in ways that they did not intend. Consideration of things like slang language and swear words (and people who use them without realising their true implications) is just the tip of the iceberg. I could go on and on about the poor English of native English speakers who do not really speak the language; people who are prone to writing things like “your” when they mean to use the abbreviation of “you are”; or getting “there”, “their” and “they’re” confused; or indeed “I should / could / would of”. But what I’m really talking about here is things like unintentionally stupid-sounding headlines (like “Drunk Gets Nine Months In Violin Case”) or comments that comprise language that is sound in every respect (at least academically) but for an element of clumsiness (like the misuse of the word “literally”, as in the genuine Talksport statement, “Gazza will literally be going through cold turkey for the rest of his life”). The truth is that the topic of difficulties in communication based on faulty language is popular among many, many people. A man called Richard Benson even wrote a book of strange things that children have written: “Blackboard Blunders: spelling slip-ups and homework howlers”. On the back of the cover, he writes, “Children at their funniest when trying to be serious, and their earnest attempts at mastering the English language are a goldmine of unintentional humour. This book is packed with hysterical examples of silly spelling and wonky words, from the charming and ludicrous, and from the profound to the downright X-rated!” My favourite is probably: “‘You are under a rest and you will be remembered in custard for the night,’ said the policeman. He wasn’t expecting that!”

All that said, however, as a translator, with every project I undertake I am committed to pursuing a very stringent quality policy. All humour aside, this is why my commitment to a high level of literacy, analysis and quality in my translation work is absolute. It’s fair to claim that good translation work is a matter of “paying attention to more than what can be seen”. I cannot and will not allow for distractions when I am determined to produce an educated-sounding and lucid equivalent of the content of what I am to translate; all the more so when, like everyone else, I know I have my limits just like everyone else. I’m human. My knowledge and reasoning capacity do have their limits, and it is the same for everyone else. Translation agencies everywhere understand this, which is precisely why so many of them have a policy that submitted translation work be proofread by someone else (always a native speaker) before it is finally submitted to the client. And, in all candour, I speak in favour of the same.

So… what is my quality policy, exactly? It’s certainly not just a matter of correct spelling, and, as mentioned before, sometimes misspelled words are actually real words, except that they mean something else entirely. I just wouldn’t be adhering to this quality policy at all without a strong commitment to a properly close, vigilant and incisive inspection of the words in the sentences of the original material, even if they strike me as making sense and making appropriate points the first time I “read through” them, and even if they are notably less than what I would call long sentences. But that is just the beginning. I believe that anything less than a totally resolute analysis of what I write in my translation material is an unwise risk at best, and blatantly unprofessional at worst.

What I don’t do is translate “word for word”. Even when I do a translation task today I just might realise that I have picked out the wrong meaning of an individual word in the original document, one which means that the word I appropriate for it in the translated sentence means that that sentence fails to resemble the message in the original, and then I need to replace it. This is something that I always bear in mind when getting terminology right is important. If I agree that any specific word in the original “looks like terminology”, I make a note of it, just in case I eventually agree that I need to go back several sentences to change it to something else! Mind you, using the find and replace feature (CTRL + F) means that I can do this very quickly, even if a translated word that I have decided is incorrect appears several times in the translated version. But ultimately, this is why I’m prepared to take the time to do a final proofread of a project once the final words have been translated… and why so many translation agencies speak of the “four eyes” policy in connection with translation proofreading or editing work.

My usual approach is to look at and treat individual sentences in turn. I say “usual” approach because I do realise that sometimes it is best not to attempt to write the sentences of a translated product in such a way that the successive sentences in the translated product are congruent with those of the original, where structural elements may vary but the information content is not re-arranged. This might be a matter of excluding information content from one sentence in the translation and including it in another so that that information is no longer in the “corresponding sentence” in the original, or taking the information content of one sentence in the original and representing it in more than one sentence in the translation, or the other way round.

Unless I know I’ve picked up the correct information in a given sentence in the original without really trying, chances are that I willsegregate individual phrases (which may only be a couple of words), not least because I might be mistaken about which phrase a given word belongs to. This is accompanied by the identification of key words (like the main verb) and of the word types (noun, adjective etc.) of the words that most contribute to making my understanding of the text in the original what it is. I find that this is the best way to pick up the pieces if I have got it wrong first time round. Certain aspects of punctuation help (the comma in particular), but only to a certain extent. It’s not always there. (Then again, if there’s too much punctuation in a sentence, following it can be a very big chore!)

Translation is indeed an intellectual activity, and I will make it clear that I have categorised use of language as well as language itself (from an academic perspective: word types, tenses, declensions etc.). Sometimes people say things that are easy and straightforward to illustrate on a piece of paper (“I have a red car”, “The white horse was bigger than the brown one” etc.) – although one should consider that what is actually to be understood from saying simple-sounding statements like this may vary if individual words are deliberately given special emphasis (“I have a red car” vs. “I have a red car” vs. “I have a red car”) etc. Against this there are times when people say things that are harder to illustrate because they reflect concepts or attitudes which may well refer to things that those who receive the message may not be familiar with (example: “It is a fact that the implementation of these new measures would incur greater costs.”). It’s when translating concepts and attitudes in particular that I’m prepared to use my imagination in an attempt to put the message of the original across in a way that will be noticeably different at the end of the day, but always accurate.

While I do try to limit my use of machine translation tools (my own judgement always matters more than anything else!) I will state that I also divide language into “statements that I would always trust a machine translator with” and “statement that I would not always trust a machine translator with.” In the paragraph above, simple and plain statements like “my car is red” are ones that I would always trust a machine translator with, but anything “more complicated” than that requires a more prudent approach. After all, a machine translator won’t think for itself. Like I said before, some words do have different meanings – but they’re not always completely different. The French word livre can mean “book” or it can mean “pound sterling” (in this case, though, it depends on whether it’s un livre or une livre). But the German word Stelle can mean “place”, “job”, “office” or “authority” – to a native English speaker who doesn’t speak German it would seem that these four words have their clear differences and have little in common until they are all compared with the word “position.”

I may have five years of study of French, German and translation studies at three universities under my belt but this still is a career that succeeds in challenging the limits of my knowledge and reasoning from time to time… I hope my earnestness is appreciated. Even today, sometimes when I read something written in English which I know was translated from French or German (my professional translation language pairs are French to English and German to English) and come across a bit which I accept is a poor translation, I am simply unable to fathom where it came from. I remember early in my career stating in my marketing material that I have found myself becoming more and more seldom amused by what I read in poor translations, which may or may not have been included in a list stating that they are comical or bizarre. This may be a sign of a truly heightened sense of language and linguistics, but nevertheless my task is only made more complicatedby my need to consider how compatible my translation products will be with the idiolect of their intended readership. I’ve heard of psycholinguistics and I do understand that people can be quick to attach certain attitudes to certain statements – not just individual words, but phrases. Like clichés. But cultural and social concerns need to be borne in mind. Sometimes when I’m doing a translation task I know exactly what is meant by a sentence (after I’ve taken the time to make sure that I really do understand it properly), but because languages tend to be different and work differently (you can only truly understand what is meant by this if you’ve studied a foreign language in depth), it can be hard for me to put it in authentic English. In other words, I can write it in proper English independently, but it is something of a struggle to write it in the kind of English that qualifies as clear, cohesive and laconic and does not use structures which may be found in spoken English but which are just rejected in educated written English. I am reminded of this by a sign in India which read, “Commit no nuisance” – to me, just because it’s detached from the idiolect of English native speakers doesn’t mean that it should strictly be viewed as a “bad” translation. I have asked for help readily in this line of work, and always show willingness to co-operate when I know it is expected of me. When I do know exactly what is meant but it takes time for me to decide how best to write it in my own language where reading it wouldn’t result in someone else’s frustration or confusion (or at least strictly as little as possible)… well, let’s just say that the inventiveness that this calls for is something I regard as a perk in my job!

It is said that translation is as much an art as it is a science; something that only a fool believes that it is possible to learn within the confines of a classroom without allowing for all things abstract. As diligent as I am in my work, though, I will still plead that it’s not always the translator’s fault. I remember once when I was very young when our teacher read to us a passage from a book describing the “Marrog”, and then we all painted our own pictures of the Marrog in our minds; the differences in our imagination spoke for themselves. I believe that this reflects how, sometimes, meaning is just plain ambiguous and existing understanding of specific things inaccurate; something that manifests itself in translation issues for sure. I once heard that a translation of the Qu’ran contained some incorrectly translated terms of certain words in Arabic that even Arabs don’t understand if they “do not have an expert knowledge of the Qu’ran” (whatever that means exactly). Myself, I do speak very good French and German (or I would not be doing this job!) but I do have my limitations when it comes to things like French / German abbreviations or acronyms, or anything else that is normally used only between French / German native speakers. I have asked for co-operation from others in connection with my work and still do, and believe that it’s so much easier for them to provide it when they have access to the original version of something as well as my translation of it. And while I believe that it’s all very well to continue expanding my French and German vocabulary in general, I think it’s every bit as important, if not more so, to know where to find “other things” (usually online): things like dictionaries of French / German terms in specific fields (legal terms, medical terms, whatever) and lists of foreign acronyms… even monolingual dictionaries.

In conclusion, the application of sage and well-reasoned academic prowess alone (the sort of thing that can be taught solely within the walls of a classroom or lecture hall) cannot suffice if I want to be sure of delivering a translation product of professional quality. For at the end of the day, as much as I understand the importance of being impartial in translation work, the message I am supposed to be conveying in a translation project is never my own, but that of someone else, and it is my responsibility to act as such.

I always was a talented linguist as a child, but I’m realising my limits now… but at least I don’t need anyone else to tell me them! I at least hope that I’ve done a good job clarifying what is meant by translation quality here in my outlining of my translation quality policy. I look forward to further adventures and discoveries when I’m doing my next translation job…

Call George Trail

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A TASTE FOR SUBSTANCE IN TRANSLATION

Surely the worst thing that can happen to a professional translator, like myself, is to be lost for words when at work. I mean, nothing can substitute the confidence that you are doing a translation job not just “well” i.e. at a perfunctory level, but with a certain kind of mastery that will make the reader feel confidence from the start, even if it had not been suggested to them beforehand that they should specifically assess their confidence in you and your work. I am wholly committed to pursuing and maintaining that. I mean, how would I be taken seriously as a professional translator otherwise? And a reasonable part of that is to do with a taste for the substance in the subject matter of the original material.

Have you ever felt like you were looking for something without really knowing what it is? When was the last time you reached the point of no return in your interest in a subject? And did you ever ask yourself about its substance – what really makes it… just what it is (and specifically in the real world, not just in your creative imagination – at the risk of causing shock, probably more the subconscious, rather than conscious, aspects of it)?

Now, having said all that: it’s far easier to translate something with little to no substance than it is to translate something with a lot of it. To provide an example, Vanilla Ice’s Ninja Rap www.youtube.com/watch?v=R_K6971WmAs (as sung in the feature film Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II – 1991) certainly has no substance, nothing capable of any kind of intellectual enlightenment whatsoever (the chorus in particular), because its entire content revolves around a “less than fine” kind of entertainment that only a child with a lot to learn, or someone in an altered state of mind, could get momentarily lost in and indeed carried away by and call it pleasurable / satisfying (forgetting the worries of the real world, of course). Everything is outlandish as it calls for suspension of disbelief. Compare that with something objective and formal in real life, like a business presentation or court documents. They will be much harder to translate, won’t they?

It should help to put this into some sort of context: here I have translated a slew of, shall we say, things that children have actually said which are amusing and endearing for varied reasons, into French and German. But I will strictly state that they are (at least most of the time) things which have a “not fully true / sensical” element about them; but that said, it is hardly likely that they will have any bearing on anyone’s opinions of or attitudes toward anything “real”. That’s my account of what gives them their appeal and allows them to command attention the way they do. They are all taken from the “humour book” “Small talk” (Nanette Newman).

English: “Once you’ve had a baby you can’t put it back.”
French: “Après avoir né un bébé, on ne peut pas le remettre.”
German: “Nachdem man ein Baby gehabt hat, kann man es nicht zurücksetzen.”

English: “My rabbit was very sorry to die because he liked eating.”
French: “Mon lapin était très triste à mourir parce qu’il adorait manger.”
German: “Mein Kaninchen war beim Sterben sehr traurig, weil das Essen ihm gefiel.”

English: “I say my prayers with my eyes open so I can hear what I am saying.”
French: “J’annonce mes prières avec les yeux ouverts pour que je puisse entendre ce que je dis.”
German: “Ich sage meine Gebete mit offenen Augen, damit ich hören kann was ich sage.”

English: “You must take care of love – if you don’t it goes bad.”
French: “Il faut prendre soin de l’amour – si on ne fait pas cela il devient pourri.”
German: “Man muss sich um die Liebe kümmern – wenn das nicht gemacht wird, dann verfällt sie.”

English: “We are going to Windsor Castle to see the Queen’s private parts.”
French: “Nous allons aller au château de Windsor pour voir les parties intimes de la Reine.”
German: “Wir werden den Windsor-Schloss besuchen, um die privaten Parts der Königin zu sehen.”

English: “My mummy cried on my first day at school so I had to take her home.”
French: “Maman a pleuré pendant mon premier jour à l’école, alors j’ai dû la ramener à la maison.”
German: “Während meines ersten Schultages hat Mutti geweint, deswegen musste ich sie wieder zu Hause bringen.”

English: “No-one covered Jesus up when he was born, he could have caught flu.”
French: “Personne n’a couvert Jésus pendant sa naissance, il a pu attrapé la grippe.”
German: “Als Jesus geboren wurde hat niemand ihn umgehüllt, er könnte die Grippe bekommen haben.”

English: “Peace. Mummy and Daddy like peace. They don’t often get it.”
French: “La paix. Maman et Papa aiment la paix. Ils l’ont guère.”
German: “Der Friede. Mutti und Vati lieben Friede. Sie bekommen ihn selten.”

But here’s an example of a topic with substance which, in a way, revolves around language in the real world: maybe you have heard of all this talk about people in the UK wanting to forbid the term “junior doctor” in case it sounds condescending to those it labels. The substance behind all this? It’s the pressure that the NHS is under right now. That’s what really stimulated it. Everyone knows it, even if they won’t admit it.

You see, stuff with substance is not just “important” (but it’s not like that word is to be regarded as a label which automatically confirms some kind of high status on whatever it designates); it’s accepted as genuinely engaging by most people (no matter who they are or who they think they are), and not just in the short term. In a way, it’s possible to be both right and wrong about certain aspects of such stuff. These topics are very easy for anyone to have half-intelligent, if potentially contentious, debates about, and, depending on the particular circumstances, it is ultimately capable of fostering education and / or ongoing personal development. There is an afterword to this point: is it not an intelligent idea that the hardest psychological / mental thing to destroy is your own ignorance in connection with something, especially when you are incapable of making guesses with regard to it?

The only possible response to this in a context of producing quality translation work is to find ways to be receptive to what goes on in the real world – outside of the boundaries of my cosy office, in my case. It may be true that I am on my guard against being too casual and insouciant with regard to the expressions I use in my work on a surface level… and yet there are still times when I feel like a fool, as if I should know better than to be “reluctant” or “ashamed” to be inclined to consider more potential in if otherwise quite ordinary things in life; potential which, for all I know, could indeed go as far as what might be technically termed “occasional wonders”. Instead I seem more given to just always regard things purely logically rather than with any kind of human touch – but it would be terrible if, every time I tried to articulate my own reasoning about something, it would sound like I was using a lot of clichés and PBAs, or making excuses for failing to understand others’ sensitivities regarding it – sensitivities which only exist because of who they are.
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THE PURSUIT OF FLAWLESS TRANSLATION: CONSIDERATION OF CULTURAL PERSPECTIVES AND THE END OF SOCIAL IGNORANCE

Foreword: are translators, or even just linguists, considered artists by default? Consider this quote: “[The artist’s] function is to make his imagination… become the light in the minds of others. His role, in short, is to help people to live their lives.” (Wallace Stevens) It is also said that understanding is an art, and not everyone is an artist.

That said, I am a professional translator, and here’s a good question: why do people get so emotionally attached to their mother tongue – not just because it merely enables communication in its basic general sense (and I can say that with authority because I know that the French authorities once tried to crack down on franglais)?

Can you answer that easily or coherently?

Knowing how a given language tends to be so intertwined with local culture: in some ways, it is the very basis of one’s way of so-called thinking for quite a lot of people – no offence.

That said, I think I should highlight that I indeed said “no offence” at the end, for a good reason. For I totally intend to relate the general topic of social ignorance / awareness to the subject of professional translation worth the name here – and I didn’t want to upset people by making it look like I am thoughtlessly suggesting that they are thick and ignorant, and it is but good manners in action; and that in itself is at the opposite end of the spectrum from social ignorance. For good manners and observation of social norms are key ingredients of social cohesion, and – especially to those that observe them – they are essential things that can and do help to form sound expectations of one’s peers which are not against their better judgement (unless of course you’re a progressive feminist or a Guardian reader or something like that).

Of course, in reality, people will always try to form judgements of their peers, whether they like it or not. It’s just human nature. Think about it. So, surely the idea of good manners by anyone’s interpretation thereof is basically one of unfaltering consideration of other people’s rights, concerns, wishes and situation – asking yourself what you owe it to other people to acknowledge; it’s not solely a matter of asking yourself what you owe it to other people to do for them, whether or not reasons for it speak for themselves. With this, it always pays to ask yourself how much of a judge of others’ mood, concerns and situation you really are – whether or not everyone does this speaks volumes about their own values, and this is probably the biggest “thing” that ultimately makes a society what it is. I mean, how much does the pursuit of “justifiable” (if tacit) conceit really pay off?

In the context of translation, of course, you get different societies with differing values and perspectives, forged and reinforced by different cultures; and people will inevitably sometimes be very passionate about their opinions about what expressions are acceptable / passable or not in any given situation (whatever that exactly means pending consideration of the concept of context) (of course, the consensuses are not always consistent…); although, that said, at this point I am inclined to talk about that which has greater emotional value to me as an individual personally, not that it is in any way related to my identity. (Can you ponder the emotional significance factor in translation?) You see, I grew up thinking that “happy” was but the opposite of “sad”, and I always thought that I knew a sad person when I saw one: someone who was in tears, the ends of their lips pointing down rather than up, whatever (NB I was born autistic). And yet, since those days I have actually, somehow, become someone inclined to view this man www.youtube.com/watch?v=GZ-fgWXPOBY as “sad” (in the catachresic, somewhat comical sense) because he actually agreed to spend enough time in his life to create a video which would end up lasting more than 3 hours in which he reads out the longest word in the English language (methionylthreonyl... [...] ...serxisoleucine, or the chemical name of titin) for the public while looking what I once would have regarded as merely bored. (He’s not even a native English speaker, interestingly enough.) But what does that say about me? But then, what about him? Maybe someone should ask him if he actually expected to be commended or praised for this “accomplishment” (i.e. because of how unlikely it is that anyone would do something like this) – which, in reality, he likely (probably subconsciously) doesn’t consider any more likely than I do – and it’s the same with you, right?

The point I am trying to make which is of such relevance to professional translation is this: getting to know another culture in the truest sense is pretty similar to getting to know someone better in the truest sense: for getting to know someone better in the truest sense requires knowing how to put aside labels and (specifically) suggesting that they have qualities similar to whomever else, especially if it’s someone else who has been a defining person in your life for very personal reasons, particularly if you believe that no-one else knows the same. And in particular if they are a fictional character. And while it is quite OK to adhere to harmless ideals, I cannot emphasise how important it is to ask yourself if known claims related thereto are actually grounded in something tangible rather than casuistry.

But please don’t be daunted by the idea of “bending over backwards” to learn a new culture in the truest sense. We live in an age where global travel is easily accomplishable as long as you have enough money and whatnot, so it should come as no surprise that many people claim that they have travelled to at least one foreign country and immersed themselves in the local culture there. But if any given local culture is to be truly understood by anyone, maybe remembering not to be too attached to hypothetical debates regarding “potential” with it is a good place to start. Don’t forget that you could have been born into another country’s local culture, just like the people there could have been born into yours. They say that “education is the progressing realisation of our ignorance” for a reason, you know.

You know, me writing that alone was enough to remind me of the quote “a different language is a different version of life”. So, yes, let’s keep open minds – while never forgetting to account for the significance of our new discoveries: in photos, diary entries, audio recordings, whatever. That’s what immersing yourself in a new culture (without necessarily “submitting to it”) is all about!

Of course, nothing is set in stone. Things change. And professional translators should be proud to wrestle with untested “truths”, as well as tested ones, born of whatever culture, for the sake of better choices in the production of their work.

If this is all too much for you, consider this: which of the following rings truer to you: “the best is yet to come”, or “the worst is yet to come”? Right… now what if I suggested that whichever one you have more psychological / emotional investment in will indeed determine your fate as such?

Thank you and goodbye.
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