How do you say….?
As a translator and also as the bilingual and multi cultural mix up that I am, I get lots of people asking me questions which begin with ‘How do you say…?’ and which may follow with so and so in English, or so and so in Spanish.. or even, so and so in Greek or so and so in Hebrew..
I do like getting these questions, I also like the fact that friends and family feel they can call on me when they are in the middle of a conversation or in mid thought to save them with that one crucial word or phrase… but finding the right answer does often call for a lot of time and effort. Sometimes the mere fact that someone is asking me for a word, seems to cause that word to hide behind the millions of other words hanging out idly in my brain in a michievous game of hide and seek! Some phrases are impossible to find a translation for using a dictionary or the power of the internet. Let’s face it some things you just have to know, or know someone who does. Luckily I know who to call..
I have a top secret forum on the internet which I revert to in many of these cases. I can leave a query there and within a matter of minutes get a reply from a wonderful person in the States or Germany or Japan or anywhere in the world with what they think the answer is. This kind of interactive resource is worth millions for any translator. Two heads is better than one, and hundreds of heads all over the world and from all walks of life is even better.
Just recently I received a call from a family member asking me ‘How do you say ‘la multiplicación del pan y los peces’ in English?’ He was of course referring to the bible story in which Jesus fed thousands of people using two loaves and two fish (or something along those lines). I knew the story but couldn’t for the life of me think of the correct way to refer to it in English. I knew it wasn’t the ‘Multiplication of the bread and the fishes’ !!
This time instead of referring to my forum I knew someone I could call. Someone English with a great understanding of the bible and its stories. He was quick to tell me that the story is called ‘The feeding of the five thousand’ and I was able to sigh in relief. Of course it was!