As a translator, I learn a huge amount of marginally interesting and completely irrelevant information. Thanks to my translating practice, I have in theory acquired skills including but not limited do:
- How to help a dog deliver puppies. Which is ironic, as I’m a cat person.
- How to take care of female hygiene during a hike. Which is ridiculous because I neither hike nor do I need to be told in which direction to wipe my ass or how to use wet wipes. Why the fuck does someone write such things and even have them translated into another language?
- How to use a compass. See above. I was pretty lost when translating this one and so will be any readers of my translation, I suspect.
- How to pick a Damascus knife. I don’t think I’m the target group for a Damascus knife. I own one universal knife which is probably made of toxic metal.
- [I can’t think of point number five though there certainly is one, so I’m leaving this bullet empty and will face my OCD about it.]
As a translator, I also ask a large number of weird questions bordering on the perverse. First, I ask myself; then, I ask Google; and finally, I pick the phone and start calling people in my address book to ask them. My recent queries included the following:
- What is the sheath of a dog’s penis called in my language? I didn’t crack this one because not even the cynologist I have on speed dial knew. I ended up terming it what loosely backtranslates to English as “furry container”. Cute, right?
- Are trade unions what I think they are? Is it even legal nowadays for workers to unite? Are there trade unions for freelancers? If so, how do I join one in case I wanted to demand equal pay (equal to or greater than my elementary upkeep)? My questions remained unanswered, but I ended up desiring a job in the company whose bulletin I was translating. They looked like they had strong unions.
- What is the part of the car called which gets warm, is located somewhere under the car and attracts cats and martens who perch there and chew on the wires and cables? My Phone-a-Friend friend knew exactly what I meant but also knew nothing about cars, so I called it “engine” and was done with it. I’m aware that a car’s engine is probably not located under the car but it was the only car part I could name. Also, the idea was that you should keep your pet away from it to prevent burns.
I guess I suck as a translator.