Old translators never die

The cadence of one of my translated sentences yesterday reminded me about the fate of old golfers, and I could not remember whether real men eat quiche or not. If the truth be told, I was not entirely sure if Kisch was involved. That advice about sounding out the word in your head in order to figure out how to spell it does not always work. On the quiche spelling question, I was insufficiently motivated to find out when I typed it yesterday, much to my subsequent chagrin.

What I did search for were sayings beginning with the words, “Old translators never die”, as I remembered an excellent one quoted in a ProZ forum discussion by Danish to English translator, Christine Andersen, “Old translators never die… they move into the Tower of Babel”.

Two days ago, the television announced that it was World Food Day, while my laptop informed me that this clashed somewhat with International Dictionary Day. I made the comment on Facebook that it was unfair to make me choose between the two. My dear sister replied that it was lucky that I had “already swallowed a dictionary” and therefore “have experience of combining the two”.  It is this sort of thing which makes the quip attributed to Roy Cochrun, “Old translators never die, they just stop buying dictionaries” hit home in a personal way. I would like to amend this saying to, “Old translators never die; they just keep swallowing dictionaries.”

I am not an old translator yet.
I am not an old translator yet.

These last two, of course, merely serve to perpetuate the erroneous assumption that all you need to produce a good translation are a couple of dictionaries. This myth goes hand in hand with the oddity of the phenomenon that those who are most vocal in complaining about low rates may well be the very translators accepting them. Chris Durban of Fire Ant and Worker Bee is of the view that “Old translators never die, they just rant on” is an apt aphorism for those who fall into this category.

Lanna Castellano is credited with having said, “Old translators never die, they just meet their final deadline”.  I bet there are some translators out there who would postpone their own death to meet a deadline, if they could. As Aurora Humarán observes, it is still not certain who the Final Client will be.

You can give yourself one of my hitherto unannounced “best grammatical friend” awards if you were irked by the differences in the punctuation of the four sayings highlighted in purple above. You can add a gold rosette to that if you come up with an “Old translators never die…” quip which makes me laugh.

Allison

 

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