Troppo bizarro per io

03Feb12

I’ve been asked to translate a feature from Italian to English.

I don’t speak Italian and I don’t know anything about waste management, the topic under discussion. I am, in short, a leftfield sort of candidate for the job. Anyway, the nettle is there to be grasped.

Step one: take your 2,000 words (2,000 words? You’re not serious!), slice it into gobbets and pass it through translation.babylon.com.

Carefully cut and paste the resulting flotsam into a Word document, piece by piece.

Take a moment to review your suitability for the task.

Amid snorts of laughter, notify the relevant authorities that the feature may be smack in the middle of the flamboyant/incomprehensible Venn diagram.

Cross-ref the really outstandingly bizarre passages with Google Translate.

Allow for a certain Italian tendency towards linguistica floribundia (what other captain accused of abandoning his ship would declare ‘My conscience cries loudest of all’ when visited in choky?)

Read with dismay, at half four after a day of it, the following passage: ‘In the end, everything that does not exceed the controls ends on drains that will revolutionise outside, the waterfalls of shards views before; but it does not end in a landfill. Together with dust sucked up by hoods, the difference is not moved in a manufactured them to side with the mechanical shovels, that here are guided mostly by women (“This our particularities”, smiles Meliga, “and we were also mentioned by a magazine of caterpillar”).’

Conclusion: it’s possible to find something very funny, yet still end up with a tension headache strong enough to burst your eyeballs.

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