Inside a Translator’s Head Once More

I had to type the word ‘cockpit-ism’ this week. I know! It’s enough to make your eyes bleed. As if we needed a word like that to make it clear that top-down steering isn’t going to resolve global problems. It had been a long and exhausting translation of a spectacularly cluggy text and it was a really hot day too. I had a meeting at four with a business contact I know well enough to message, asking whether she was as hot and bothered as I was (actually wanting to get an idea of whether I had to shower and change for the meeting). She was, and assured me I didn’t have to ‘opdoffen’ for the meeting. The word means ‘dressed up’ in Dutch but the funny thing is that ‘an opdoffer’ is a punch. Just one letter different but a world of difference. Then the word ‘dapper’ popped into my head. In Dutch, it means brave, and in English spruce (not the tree) or debonair – well-dressed (said of a man). Then there’s gymnasium, which in Dutch is a school that preps for university and in English, the dreaded hall where physical education was given and girls like me handed in notes claiming all manner of excuses for not having to take part.

And now I’m off to prepare my presentation on PROMPT! for SENSE’s PDD on Saturday.