What Translators Can and Can’t Do

posterfix-449x700I watched “Arrival” this weekend. For the uninitiated, it is a movie about aliens arriving on Earth and the world’s attempts at communicating with them. The main character, Louise Banks, is supposedly one of the best linguists in the world, a translator whose work has greatly helped the United States, and naturally she is recruited to translate the alien language. Whether I liked this movie or not is besides the point, what I want to address in this post is the portrayal of Loiuse.

While I’m absolutely thrilled that there’s a movie that paints us translators as the real MVPs (because let’s face it, we’re not the most exciting bunch around), and sheds light on the importance of languages… during run time, I was just thinking, “Um. That’s… not how translation works?” Now that some time has passed since I watched it, I think I can finally put my finger down on what was bothering me.

Translators can translate one language into the other, provided that they do know both languages before hand. 

Translators cannot translate a language that, until two days ago, had not existed and there is no record of it anywhere. They cannot be expected to translate anything that is given to them. They are not walking dictionaries, for goodness sake. I was absolutely baffled when the MC was approached with some voice recording and asked to translate it. Like… are you even for real?  Continue reading

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You lost me at the ending.

I always read books to the end, regardless of how much I dislike them or feel bored by them. I have two reasons for this: a) Leaving a book unfinished makes me uncomfortable. It will always remain at the back of mind, reminding me of my incompetence, telling me that I’ve failed; and b) I always give the book a chance to redeem itself with a fabulous ending. Yes, that doesn’t work all the time, and true, it might not make me love the book, but it will probably matter when it comes to rating.

Endings always determine how much I love the book.  Or how much I hate it. I feel that some authors put so much emphasis on the plot and character development – which is not a bad thing on its own – and end up writing the ending as an afterthought, using it as a way to simply wrap things up without really making sure that it is up to par with the rest of the book or trying to make it as satisfactory as possible. Incidentally, it was not a book that had me thinking about this today, but rather a movie, “Lucy” to be exact. The movie was very interesting and gripping all throughout, but the ending… I was seriously underwhelmed. Instead of leaving the theatre feeling happy, my mind buzzing with what I’d watched, I felt quite disappointed, and my mind quickly shelved it under “Seen, Not Worth it”.

That’s not to say that I haven’t read books with such kind of endings. There were endings that I completely fell in love with like Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell.

I know, Marshall, I really do.

Continue reading

The ratings are a lie.

disappointed

The cat is not amused.

… well, okay, I’ll be fair. Not all the time.

Yesterday I watched a movie with my fiancé that was rated 4.8 on IMDb. We steeled ourselves for a pretty bad experience; however, we ended up being pleasantly surprised. The movie was not bad in the slightest, and certainly did not deserve a rating as low as 4.8. It was a good family movie, filled with funny and touching moments. We really enjoyed ourselves, and the movie put us in a good mood.

On a different note, we watched a movie the other week that was rated 7.1 on the same site, but if left up to us, we would’ve given it 5 stars tops. It was bland and uninteresting, and we both ended up feeling quite disappointed. Actually, I can list many movies where the ratings promised a good watch, but left us wishing we could get the last two hours of our life back.

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Books are one-time things.

ReReadI almost always read books to their very end; yet at the same time, I almost never reread them. I often feel surprised when I come across someone who has a book or two that they read time and time again. I heard a fan of Jane Eyre say they read the book fifteen times, and my only reaction to that was, “How can you do that? Don’t you get… well, bored?”

I love books as much as the other bibliophile and I do have some favourites, but even those I can’t picture myself reading so often. I can read a book twice, or three times if I really love it, but even then I wait for long stretches of time before I even think about giving it a second spin. My shelves are crammed with books I haven’t read in years because they are still fresh in my head. I can remember almost every detail about them and as such I don’t feel the need to read them again. In a way I’m a bit of a paradox – I can’t not finish a book, yet I can’t be bothered to finish it a second time. Continue reading

Facebook keeps asking what’s on my mind.

This yummy dessert is stuffed with Nutella. Absolutely to-die-for. (Photo Credit: http://krispykreme.co.uk)

This yummy dessert is stuffed with Nutella. Absolutely to-die-for. (Photo Credit: http://krispykreme.co.uk)

Well, Facebook, I’m not in my best of spirits I can tell you that. There have been ups and downs, occasional bursts of fun and escape from reality, and frequent headfirst collisions with the hard reality… no cushions. Sometimes I wish I could go back a few years, when I only had to worry about grades and weekend plans.

You can say that this is a status update of sorts. Or maybe a sort of mini-journal entry. Either way, so as not to bore you with all the details of my mundane life, I’m going to write about a few select highlights. One important such highlight is that this weekend I indulged in my first chocolatey treat in weeks – a chocolate dreamcake doughnut from Krispy Kreme. I had been planning to hold out a bit longer on chocolate, but really, who can resist a KK doughnut? 😉 Plus, I do believe I earned it. I’ve stuck to my diet and exercise throughout this period and lost more than 15 pounds, which is excellent if you take into consideration that I only started three weeks ago! Continue reading

A Book’s Worst Nightmare

book horror story

Having your book converted into a movie would be a dream come true, right? Just think of all the publicity, the wonder of seeing your characters brought to life on the screen,  the people who would come rushing to buy your book to see how it compares with the movie… aaaaaaand that’s where the dream comes to a screeching halt and becomes a nightmare.

After the initial euphoria fades away, you start to think about all the worst-case scenarios: actors you dislike might get chosen to play your characters (I don’t know what I’d do with myself if Kristen Stewart came anywhere near the set), the script writers may decide that your most favourite scene in the book is not worth their time, or worse; they might strip your book from its original ending and give it a brand new one. Yikes. Continue reading

From A to Z.

Between chocolate withdrawals, near-death escapes, power outages, work and technology’s attempts on my life – namely through locking me up in an elevator by myself for nearly thirty minutes – I have not had much time to blog, so it’s always fun when somebody tags you to answer a few things about yourself. Who doesn’t like to talk about themselves? 😉

abc awardI was nominated for the ABC Award by Derek at Station Deva – thank you, Derek! – and the requirements for this particular award looked like fun; all you have to do is, for each letter of the alphabet, write about something relevant to you. For this I nominate Wordsurfer, The Afictionado, Impressions of a Princess, Michelle Proulx, Rarasaur, thematticuskingdom, Becky Says Things and Blogs-Of-A-Bookaholic. Feels good not allowing the award to die for a change, haha.

Onto my ABCs! Continue reading