27 March 2007

Lost in translation

I am ploughing, and I mean ploughing, through a translated book. At first glance, it reads well enough then you start to notice that it wasn't actually translated by a native speaker. There are the odd little grammatical constructions, of course, that are a dead giveaway, not to mention the occasional mistranslation - "dilate" for example, when the author means "expand". Some of these are quite amusing - "we will dilate on this issue later in this chapter" has popped up several times. Then there are the neologisms and strange expansions of English words, such as strategical instead of strategic.

None of this I mind. I'm being paid to clean it all up, after all. The annoying bits are where the translator has omitted text and I can't even begin to make a guess at what is meant, for lack of a word or three. And then there are the untranslated captions... luckily, I'm au courant with the original language of the book, so I've been able to translate these myself.

All this means my work rate has slowed to perhaps my lowest ever. Yesterday, I spent 6 hours editing a chapter of less than 40 pages. That is brain-grindingly slow by any standards and my head hurts. My shoulders ache too, from hunching over the keyboard, poring through reference books and staring at the screen, willing inspiration to come when I feel stuck.

Thank gawd there's only a chapter and a half to go.

No comments: