Bilingual orientation

I forget what the word “blogging” originally meant. I know it involved a conflation involving the word “logging,” but I can’t remember where the “b” came from. In any case, blogging used to be a pretty big deal, but now only a few of us are left, systematically throwing messages in bottles out into the digital sea, hoping somebody will find one of them washed up on a virtual beach.

The original blogs, as I recall, tended to be rather confessional, like personal web cams, but involving only psychological voyeurism. Not many do that anymore (though James Lileks still excels). But occasionally I still cast up the odd personal log here, and today will be one of those days. Mostly because I’ve been so busy I haven’t had much time to read, so I can’t do a book review. I may finish the book I’m reading now in time to review it tomorrow.

Today was my last Monday at my job – though I’m informed they’ll be wanting to bring me in as a contractor now and then in the next few months, to do the stuff nobody else knows how to do. In my free time, I’ve been surprisingly busy. Odds and ends that demanded attention. The first inchoate stirrings of a job hunt. I haven’t spent much time on the couch watching TV, though it’s what I really feel like doing.

Friday I got a message from the woman at Meteoritt, the media translation company in Oslo, asking me if I wanted to translate an 18-page document, due Wednesday. I said sure. No problem. I’ve begun to get a handle on how long it takes to translate a script, and 18 pages is no big deal. Script pages, as you probably know, are mostly white space.

But it turned out it wasn’t a script. It was what I believe is called a “treatment” in the industry. A treatment (unless I’m mistaken) is a narrative of the story organized in paragraphs. One paragraph per scene, I think. Which means that a treatment is a pretty dense document. 18 pages of a treatment is a chunk of verbiage.

This is good, of course. It means billable hours for me. I should get a nice check for my work in August, which I’d been afraid would be a pretty dry hole, translation-wise. And I need to make hay, as the saying goes, before the September monsoons sweep in. (Childhood memory: at haying time you watch the sky. Dry, hot weather is good. You spread the hay in windrows around the field, so that the sun will dry it out. But if it rains, you’re out of luck. You can still use the hay, but “it’s not as good,” my dad used to say. I was never sure how. Probably just a tendency to get moldy.)

So I spent the weekend frantically translating. It went fine. I’m almost done with the first draft now. There are phrases I’ve highlighted that I still need to research, to get the proper nuance – always a challenge for the non-native speaker. A translator in Norway wouldn’t have that problem, but would have a different problem instead – producing a graceful English final draft. That’s what I’m good at.

I did spend a few hours on Saturday training a couple new warriors in our “live steel” (blunt weapon) combat system. They seemed to enjoy it, and I hope they’ll soon be replacing me on the field of honor.

As I said on Facebook, I’m a dull guy. But I sometimes do interesting things.

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