Monday, September 29, 2008

Handling them quickly

The longer she worked as an interpreter and translator, my new neighbour said, the more she was astounded by its common impossibilities. Take the word ‘harm’, she told me. This was often referred to in her work at the courts, but could I give an accurate explanation of it in English? And as for ‘exciting’ and ‘adventure’ – words that had no existence in the Asian language she worked in – that must have been pressed from centuries of pamphleteering on colonial expeditions – these two words came up every day in cases to do with travellers and, when they did, she found herself handling them quickly.

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