Friday, June 03, 2005

No es fácil

One of the biggest challenges for any interpreter or translator is mastering the idioms and colloquialisms of a particular language. In fact, my last interpreting class spent quite a while on the slang and swear words employed in various Spanish-speaking countries, and I myself have pored through books of Spanish expressions to capture those which cannot be translated literally to or from English. It's a difficult task, as evidenced by a mistake I discovered in La Tapadera, the Spanish translation of John Grisham's The Firm.
At the point when protagonist Mitch McDeere wants to discuss salary with his potential employer, he's told that they'll discuss it when he goes for another interview in Memphis. His response, "I want a ballpark figure or I may not go to Memphis" is translated as:
"Sin un sueldo de futbolista, puede que no vaya a Memphis"
or literally,
"Without a soccer's player's salary, I might not go to Memphis."
Even professionals make mistakes. It's tough.

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