The letter F has featured strongly in my musings this week, for no apparent reason. It started with a source text which translated roughly to ‘trying to make any sense of that marketing mumbo jumbo would be a waste of time’ (apologies, marketeers!) and the phrase ‘a fool’s errand’ popped into mind for ‘a waste of time’. Much nicer but sadly too obscure for the purpose. An errand is a chore involving going somewhere: I have errands to do this morning, shopping, picking up dry cleaning etc. A fool wasn’t always a stupid person, but naive and a fool’s errand was a prank played on newcomers, or recruits, sending them to fetch something that didn’t exist. Funnily enough, a fool’s errand was originally known as a sleeveless errand; the word sleeveless used to mean useless.

Sticking with the fool a bit longer, we have fool’s gold (which isn’t), a fool’s paradise (euphoria based on false hope) and fool’s parsley (poisonous hemlock-type weed).

Other Fs this week were finicky (fussy or fastidious). And fysiotherapie, which of course begins with ph in English, in a source text on intermittent claudication.

Of course then I had to look up peripheral arterial disease just to make sure I didn’t have it. Which is why I don’t specialise in medical translations!