New typewriter required

There are not too many translators who readily accept scanned copies of documents for translation.

Even translators who were touch typists before the introduction of function keys on computer keyboards (such as I) become lazy. We love our computers. We love our CAT tools which obviate the necessity for (a) typing and (b) formatting. These are two cogent reasons for preferring digital over downright laboured.

I count my blessings. One of them is the good fortune not to have to work in a government office in Africa (or anywhere else, for that matter) on a typewriter with a non-functioning, somewhat free-rolling platen. Why?

Because this is what you end up with:

To produce a masterpiece such as this one, you need to hold the knob of the platen steady with one hand while typing with the other. Don't ask me how I know! ;)
To produce a masterpiece such as this one, you need to hold the knob of the platen steady with one hand while typing with the other. Don’t ask me how I know! 😉

Fortunately for me, only three of the forty-odd pages had such creative layout. Other pages were prepared by an inattentive typist who left out words here and there.

If I was giggling through this lot (especially the dance of the wild palm and mango trees – des palmiers [et] des manguiers sauvages – with the “s” careening off the edge of the page in such an undisciplined fashion), you can imagine the guffaw when I encountered a rubber stamp impression (the only clear one in the entire translation) which completely obliterated the date of contract signature, half the signature itself, and the name of the bod who signed it. It could be inferred, of course.

Now, if I were the head of something or other, I would certainly not affix my signature to a dog’s breakfast such as this – but then, I never, ever obscured my signature with official rubber stamps when I had occasion to use them either.

In this same bunch of papers, another official gaily banged his rubber stamp over more than half of an embossed seal…

Back to CAT tools and uploading packages to portals tomorrow about the latest cool thing you can do online. Yay!

Cheerfully yours

7 thoughts on “New typewriter required

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  1. Yes, Gerald! We humans are indeed capable of one thing machines are not: Experiencing the true joy of translating. At some point in the act of translating these 13,000 words, I became aware that I had adopted an entirely different mindset to the one so frequently in use when translating in the CAT environment. It seemed to be a more perspicacious, more deliberate approach – which I used to good effect in a couple of quite complicated contracts in this batch. My nerves were shot though. A different agency not so long ago had to upbraid me for poor typing skills, as I failed to transpose a name correctly from the source to the target. O, misery me! That was before I got a 19″ screen plugged into my laptop, and was working from paper. I am all smiles now.


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