Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Multi-Culti Parker

The Scene: Four employees of an unnamed publishing company are in a small office on the 28th floor of a high-rise in downtown Kuwait.

The lovely, youthful Lebanese translator is working on translating a panel in an unspecificed comic. She looks up at the Indian copywriter, a young man with a slightly British/slightly American accent who has just entered the room.

"What is Senior Skip Day?"

"I don't know. What IS Senior Skip Day?"

They stare at the offending page and scour the surrounding panels for context. Finally, the American (the new jill-of-all-trades sitting in the corner) interrupts.

"At the end of high school, all the students decide not to go to school on one special day. They do something like go to an amusement park instead. The school doesn't like it."


They nod and smile.

From the other corner, the wizened Egyptian Editor-in-Chief calls for their attention with great seriousness.

"We could have a work skip day!"


Sara Kocher said...

It's such a cliche, but I actually did laugh out loud reading this. Literally, that is, not the annoying LOL.

Brought back memories of Senior Skip Day in East Lansing, Michigan. Which is about as far away from a Kuwaiti skip day with Lebanese, Indian and Egyptian co-conspirators as possible...unless maybe I'd grown up in small-town North Dakota.

Sorry I didn't see the post about which city to visit. I'd have voted for Sharm anyway, though. Cheap and relaxing, with snorkeling, sounds great to me.

Marie said...

And today's question about the same comic book scene in a high school cafeteria was:

"What does this mean: go all 'Carrie' on them?"

Jared said...

It's time for the writer to update his pop culture references.

Marie said...

Jared, you'll have to take that up with B*nd*s. Not that I'm saying what comic it ultimately was.

PaulaB said...

wow so like who IS the writer and does he/she think his/her audience will get the pop culture references?
I'm with Sara & did laugh out loud - after I had to think a minute to remember Senior Skip Day - gosh that was eons ago....
Sharm sounds awesome! I'm trying to figure out someplace cheap to go the last week of March (our school's "spring break") maybe Baja California? just has to be warm, beaches, ocean, & cheap!
was in touch with Sven! - did you guys get to the camel races?
keep on writing! Enjoying it immensely!

Marie said...

Today's question that was the source of much debate:

How do you translate "Thor, Norse God of Thunder" when there's not really any remote awareness of Norse myths in Arabic society?

"It's like Zeus," I said when the literal translation made Thor a modern Norwegian deity.

Much discussion in Arabic ensued. There was a resolution, but I couldn't understand it.

Marie said...

Today's last translation moment:

What is the Arabic word for mutant?

This one is important. We can't get it wrong. The marketing woman ended up calling someone's kid who is a fanatic for the X-Men.

Linja said...

Marie, you could probably do a whole book just on those translation moments! They remind us to laugh at our cultural oddities. Reminds me of Mork from Ork ...

Marie said...

24 Jan.

"Spazoid. Is that like crazy?"

Marie said...

25 Jan.

"Voodoo economics. How the hell do we translate that? And what about 'Great Depression?'