Translation Blog

Merry festival of conspicuous consumption and overeating

Just popping in to say I’m still here, busily translating away for you all. My silence (prompting one recent prospective client to wonder if I were still in business) is merely due to a lack of things to say, unless I wanted to turn this into a half-hearted music blog. Tempting, but I think not.

So Merry Christmas, everyone. Raise a glass for me.


HRH again

My husband wrote this little poem in memory of Widgy:

With your tail high and proud
you reigned, majestic,
over homes throughout Europe
but it was when you were
belly-up and
lovesome
that you melted our hearts

translation: Colm Ryan


HRH Prince Widget

HRH Prince Widget (Widgy) has died after a sudden flare-up of a chronic illness. In his honour, we recount a brief summary of his life.

Kittenhood
The looks of a chocolate box kitten belied the cheeky bundle of mischief lurking beneath the floof. Despite the early misfortune of a gender misidentification (resolved only at the age of 6 months), the young Widgy delighted in tormenting his peers, Sam and Holly; pouncing on their tails, launching himself onto them from the sofa, even on one memorable occasion biffing a freshly caught mouse out of Holly’s mouth and claiming the kill as his own. Although generally proud and aloof from his human serfs, he would nonetheless have sudden attacks of affection for them, demonstrated through a short bout of intense armpit kneading and headbutting before his need for independence reasserted itself and he returned to his habitual disdain of such foolish emotions.

The behind-the-sofa years
A brutal accident dramatically changed Widgy’s relationship with the world. Details of the event remain obscure; what is known is that he returned one day with a severely broken rear leg, which required pinning and a month’s convalescence in restricted quarters. He was never the same thereafter. From bold and fearless he became reserved and withdrawn, retreating behind the sofa at the sound of the doorbell and normally only venturing out when the uninvited visitor had left, although an occasional exception was made for privileged female humans. Nevertheless, it was in this period that his regal nature came to the fore, and he was quickly awarded the title “His Royal Highness”.

A change of air
At the age of 4 Widgy moved to Rome, Italy. Despite the indignity of his arrival with a consignment of frozen swordfish, he settled in well, quickly adapting to the heat and to his new peer, Tindaro; although never friends, they grew to tolerate one another in a reasonably amicable fashion. The new environment progressively boosted Widgy’s affection for his female serf. He was to remain very diffident towards his new male serf, however, for many years.

Middle age
Widgy was 11 when he was diagnosed with the disease which would ultimately kill him, hyperthyroidism. The constant blood tests this engendered delayed his planned sojourn in Luxembourg, although the royal court was eventually able to make the transfer. This was a welcome respite from the summer heat of Rome although the lack of an independent ingress in his new abode was a constant frustration. Winter snow provided many an amusement, as did facing down (with the assistance of Tindaro) a local fox that had ventured out of the woods in search of food.

The twilight years
Back in Rome once more, Widgy finally showed signs of mellowing towards his male serf, who was now permitted to stand in the royal presence and even stroke the royal belly. By this time, he was also imperiously demanding daily cuddles and almost constant attention from his female serf, a trait which was to intensify as he grew older. Although increasingly plagued with arthritis, he remained cheerful and interested in life to his last days. On leaving this world, he gently squeezed his paw around the finger of his female serf, before being allowed to slip away with the dignity which so became him.

He is deeply mourned and will be greatly missed by his female and male serfs, friends, and a whole crowd of internet wrongmos who never met him but whose lives were nonetheless enriched by the chronicles of his exploits.

His Royal Highness Prince Widget

22/02/1995 – 19/03/2013


Wikipedia Blackout

While I would, of course, never advocate Wikipedia as a sole source of information on any matter, I find it invaluable as a quick way of finding out possible equivalents for doubtful terms, which I can then go on to confirm with further research. So I was not at all pleased to try to access Wiki today, only to find this message:

Imagine a World
Without Free Knowledge

For over a decade, we have spent millions of hours building the largest encyclopedia in human history. Right now, the U.S. Congress is considering legislation that could fatally damage the free and open Internet. For 24 hours, to raise awareness, we are blacking out Wikipedia.

Find out more here – and add your voice to the chorus defending freedom of information.


Spare a thought for a colleague

In the unlikely event that anyone follows my few-and-far-between words of wisdom but doesn’t subscribe to the Jenner twins’ far more prolific and useful blog, please spare a thought (and some cash) for a fellow translator.


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