relief translating part 2

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the knife was still stuck into the back of the relief translators head.  it was just a small paring knife so the headache wasn’t so much of a bother as it was annoying.  it may as well have been late august and some ballpark in the midwest with the humidity hovering around monsoonal and temperatures to match.  he pulled the knife from his skull, wiped the blade and his forehead, then took a long satisfying leak of large carnivore proportions.  the relievers job was done.  finally.

it wasn’t an easy job.  yeah, i thought it might have been but looks are deceiving.  sure i’d spent an hour and a half on the first part of the translation transforming chinese english into perhaps something a bit more readable.  it seemed like there wouldn’t be much more to do.  just a couple of more simple paragraphs to go or so it seemed.

we finally got back to it yesterday afternoon.  the meat of the stuff.  the artistic words and sentiments from the chinese perspective.  they needed to come across as they were written in chinese or so said g/f.  none of your turning the chinese thoughts into some english novel.  that one came up more than once.  what’s a poor boy to do?  it either comes across as chinese english or english.  take your pick. 

we struggled with the next paragraph for almost 2 hours.  color, light, abstract, landscape, style, brush strokes.  and so on.  just mind numbing work.  we finally got something down.  i had a headache.  i needed vino.  large amounts of vino.

we got back to it again this morning right after breakfast.  it seemed like it was going to be a piece of cake.  sure.  just like life. 

more thoughts and words crammed into the smallest amount of chinese characters adding up to a mountain of english words or more specifically chinese english.  we are doing a translation not writing a novel.  well, i come up with stuff in place of the silted chinese english but you don’t like it and then tell me i’m supposed to come up with something for these words and ideas that are just gibberish to me. 

on it went.  hashing out a few words at a time.  yeah, ok that’s fine.  i don’t care.  you aren’t helping.  i’m doing all the work.  well, perhaps it’s because i don’t speak chinese let alone i’m not chinese and you don’t like what i have to say so i don’t care anymore what the damn thing reads like.  i just want it to be over.  your, brother, fucked us both with this little ditty.  yes, i know.  i’m as angry as you are.

it took us a bit over 2 hours to finish the deal.  over 4 hours total of free mind breaking work.  brother gets of scot free and looks like a hero.  i had a paring knife stuck in the back of my skull very near the top of my spine.  g/f had a headache as well.

so it seems to be done.  note i said ‘seems’.  g/f has not read what i came up with on my own.  from our exchanges the past 2 days i don’t have much hope for my attempt to make the cut.  well, she has the whole thing back on her computer now so she can deal with it on her own.  or at least until i hear, ‘john, john, come here.’  emanating from the other room.  god help us all, tiny tim.

jmh    

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