Saturday 15 January 2011


It may not be a surprise to you that I find translation absorbing. There are so many manifestations of it that I am going to have to save some for another time. What I have in mind just now is the need for the young- elderly to have access to a translation of what is in current usage. You may remember that, occasionally, I have been known to visit an establishment to make sure, on behalf of its owners and/ or organisers that it is doing what it says on the box. This occupation is called 'Mystery Shopping'. You may prefer espionage. To digress for a moment: I did actually have one assignment that required me, on behalf of its competitors, to have a look at a children's nursery school. It wasn't until the 'final comment' box, where one is encouraged to put a personal view of the experience, that I fully took in the fact that I was actually working for competitors, not for the proprietors. I wrote that I felt this excellent school had not made enough of the philosophy underlying its ethos. I even submitted this report and had, hastily, to ring up my employers - a move permitted only in dire emergency - and ask them to scrub that comment before submitting the report to the client. It is a thin line between investigation and industrial espionage. I do see that. Anyway, as I was saying, under this aegis, I was asked to go to a Retirement facility. The 'scenario', which is their word for telling you what to do, was headed "Your Journey". Now, travel in London is not easy but it was hard to see how travelling from where I live to where this facility found itself was going to fill the many pages of prescribed report I was expected to download. However, download them I did and soon came to see that what I was to report on - that upon which I was to report, of course - was, in my terms, my experience. Did you know that your experience is now called your journey? I suppose you did. I have added it to my lexicon but I suspect I shall be unlikely to use the word in a context which doesn't include buses and cars and trains and the like. In that scenario, I should have called my Nursery School experience a journey, I suppose, damn it.

In the same portfolio, I was doing my utmost to print off one of these posts to post, (yes, I am aware of the irony), to a non-computing friend of my age. The Guru has shown me how to do this more times than I have digits to count on. He has shown me so many times that I was too terrified to ask him to show me yet again. Against his sensitivities, I had even written down his instructions: ignominious failure every time. I was still getting only half the post and that half sideways, if you see what I mean. Came the day when I was really desperate. The floor was covered in half posts the wrong way up and I was clean out of resources. I gave in. I asked him to show me again. My main fault had nothing to do with translation. I had failed to select 'print selected' so my obliging machine had ignored my blued text and printed what it thought I should have selected. The sideways fault was also entirely down to me. My setting was on landscape instead of portrait. (I quote). Being a person of visual imagination I did recognise the fault of which I was guilty. But, I ask myself, indeed, I ask you, what has happened to horizontal? What has happened to vertical? The Guru, with what may be equated with patience for the purposes of on-going optimism, explained landscape and portrait were correct usage for this situation and put the settings right. But this old lady was left with an urgent need for strong drink and a little restful journey where there is an admirable landscape. See you soon.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dear Liz, This post had me almost landscape on my back laughing so hard. I could picture you with the half posts covering your floor and you knee-deep in portraits. What a wonderful visual! I, too, am learning cyberspeake a little more every day, usually from a student. Basically it's like a whole new language created to twitter the world away. Pity the birds. Keep blogging!