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

Level Up

I turned 27 last October, and try as I might to pretend that age is just a number and you’re only as old as you feel (20!), I still can’t deny that my thirties are just around the corner. I don’t like it. The 20 landmark was awesome, but the 30 one… not so much. No offense to any readers older than 30! You’re all wonderful people, but this is just something I’m trying to handle on a personal level.

So recently my friends and I adopted a particular system. As of this year, we are no longer “aging”. We are leveling up.

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Of course this came with a whole new set of rules and variables. In the game of life we’re now playing, things like eating and sleeping have a whole new meaning.  Continue reading

Spring Cleaning!

Here in Dubai we’ve basically skipped Spring and jumped right into Summer, but I’m going to pretend it’s Spring because the heat is not yet overwhelming enough to melt my eyes out of my sockets. Taking a little inspiration from Maddie, I feel it’s time for a post long overdue; after all, it’s been almost five months since I moved and I have yet to say anything about that. So this is a sort of “cleaning” post – I’m dusting off my blog and poking those cobwebs out of the corners, in hopes that I’ll be more active here over the coming months.

Though I’m from Lebanon, I was born and raised in UAE, and spent over 19 years of my life here – it’s more of a home to me than Lebanon will ever be. In Zen’s Grand Life Plan, returning to this country was a high priority. I had to make it happen. It wasn’t just an option. It was difficult, but I made it happen. So now I’m back home, and I feel happier than I’ve ever been in a very long time.

I finally have my own place in the middle of a skyscraper community. It’s a cute little studio, which I’ve decked with purple. Seriously – purple crockery, cutlery, bathroom stuff, bed sheets… it’s not completely Zenified yet, but I’m getting there! Next step – a PURPLE COUCH. Maybe. >.>;

The neighbourhood is lovely, I have a park right under my building, and the towers are all built around big lakes, which are pretty despite being artificial! In fact, here’s a picture from my bedroom window.

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That’s the entrance of the park, and you can see the lake to the side!

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Sweet Snapshot Sunday #4

One post ago I mentioned that I was going to be moving. At the time, I didn’t really believe it. Even though I was packing and having such a difficult time deciding which books I should take with me, it still hadn’t sunk it that in a few days time I was going to find myself in an entirely different country. For some reason this made me very depressed, and I was susceptible to random bouts of crying.

Thankfully, that’s behind me now. I guess I should give a bit more information… I’ve moved to Dubai, UAE. Some of you might remember that I’ve spent the first 19 years of my life there before eventually going to Lebanon. This country is more of a home to me than my actual home country. It’s where I grew up, it’s where I feel comfortable, it’s where I feel free to be myself. It’s changed a bit in the few years I was away, it grew and developed… but I still see in it the home I once left behind.

But I’m happy now. I’m starting my independent life. I take the metro to work every day, I have morning walks by the edge of the lake on my way to the office, I’m taking charge of my work, I’m hunting for an apartment, I’m getting all my paperwork in order… and I’m also of course discovering all the new dessert spots in town. 😉

Triple Chocolate Cake

Triple Chocolate Cake

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A Bibliophile’s Packing Dilemma

I’m moving on Friday, to a whole new job, a whole new city, a whole new country in fact. I’m excited and terrified at the same time. This is a whole new level of independence and responsibility that I’ve never had before, and knowing me, I will either screw up badly or do brilliantly. There’s no middle ground.

One of the things I’m really looking forward to is having my own place and furnishing it the way I like (priorities, amirite?). I’ve started looking at apartment listings and furniture catalogues already. I have visions of myself strolling through IKEA, seeing my perfect living room/bed room and saying, “This is it. This is so me.” I am also on the lookout for the perfect bookshelf… which brings us to the title of this post.

HOW THE HELL DO I CHOOSE WHICH BOOKS TO TAKE?

*clears throat*

Books, I’ve discovered, are very heavy indeed. 10 paperbacks and 5 hardbacks together weight 6.7 kg (14.7) pounds. I’m only allowed 40 kg for my flight, of which 10 kg have already been taken up by the weight of my bags themselves. Speaking of bags, I had absolutely no idea they could cost so much; I was so shocked! Anyway. I have about 400 books on my shelves, out of which there are 65 books I haven’t read it (give or take). My first solution?

Read All the Books

I thought I was making good progress. I was reading one book per day. But with a sinking feeling, I realised that if I were to read all my books before leaving, I would need to go through at least 6 per day. Impossible. Distraught, I started thinking of other tactics. Continue reading

A Writer Who Doesn’t Write.

Of all the things I’ve been neglecting lately and pushing back to the deepest, darkest corner of my mind, I think my writing has collected the most dust. I’m not just referring to blogging – though that has started to  gather some cobwebs – but rather, to what allows me to call myself a writer.

cobwebs

When I first published Puppet Parade in 2012, I was determined to release at least one book a year. More than two years have passed since then and I have yet to make a dent in that resolution. It’s not that I don’t have ideas or works-in-progress, as it happens I have one completed first draft and two novels in the making… and about a dozen ideas for future novels. The problem is that I lack time. Continue reading

My Vacation in Pictures

Going for nearly three years without a proper vacation can do terrible things to someone’s mental health, especially if that particular someone is a workaholic. So during the month of April, I went away on vacation… which would explain my long absence from the blogosphere. It was something I desperately needed, at a time when I was dealing with a lot of personal issues and work was starting to take its toll on me.

I went to UAE for 20 days during which I stayed with one of my best friends. We had a blast I swear. It was so much fun, so amazing, that it was difficult to imagine anything else. When I woke up in my own room after I came back, it took me a moment to register that I was not in my friend’s place anymore, especially since I’d come to consider it home more than anywhere else. Still though, I had a really good time.  Continue reading