My Translating Trick (Which Doesn’t Work)

My Translating Trick (Which Doesn’t Work)

When I’m translating and come across a specific term not listed in a general dictionary, I use Wikipedia. The same Wikipedia that I would tell my students never to use (or should they still feel the compulsion, to limit this activity to the privacy of their home, much like masturbation). I input the term in the English Wikipedia and then look for a Czech mutation of the page. Sometimes I get lucky and get a hit. More often I don’t get lucky, which is where mutations of the page in other languages come in.

First I check other Slavic languages, when available. Slovak is supposed to be the closest language to Czech, but it’s a lie. It has letter accents I don’t recognise and spellings which would be so wrong in Czech. The Slovak equivalent of the term I’m looking for is usually just a bunch of nonsense letters which don’t mean anything to me. Time for Polish, which is supposed to be pretty similar to Czech. Not really. Polish sounds like someone was poking fun at Czech.


In the depths of utmost despair, I turn to Russian. I learned Russian for a few years but what remains from my Russian is a few random words and a limited ability to read the Cyrillic alphabet. It looks like this: I read it out aloud, letter by letter, so that I could hear the result. I also tilt my head like a dog or an idiot because looking at print from an unnatural angle apparently facilitates reading. Typically I end up nodding my head, fascinated but not enlightened.

For the sake of practice, I sometimes skim what other languages are available and click randomly for possible inspiration. Sometimes there’s a version in Latin. What the heck. Are these the Middle Ages? There are also African languages, which I’m sure are thrilling, but not particularly helpful. What’s missing is Klingon. That might have been useful. If you have a more intelligent and effective method for tackling terms in translation, do tell me please.

I’m Procrastinating and I Know Why

I’m Procrastinating and I Know Why

Most of the time, I know exactly what to do. Much of the time, I do the exact opposite.

I’ve been procrastinating a lot these last few days. I know why. Because I’m an idiot. Also because I have too much work and there is no end to it. I’ve been diligently overworking myself for the last few weeks. That’s the very definition of idiocy: doing the same thing and expecting a different result. The last time I worked myself through to the madhouse, which wasn’t that bad but somewhat counterproductive.

So I’m procrastinating now by blogging. I also procrastinate on social media. I’m not sure what I’m doing there and what the point is, I pretty much just open the relevant app and close it again without even bothering to scroll. I procrastinate by posting idiotic posts all over the place too. I wonder if the motive is that I’m trying to make someone somewhere care. I really should care more for and about myself.

Another underlying reason for my current procrastination and pissed-off-edness are two social occasions I’m facing. One is the long anticipated visit of my father, who never fails to make me want to kill myself. Another is an impromptu business thing scheduled for the next day, if I survive. For both events, I guess I should make myself presentable. Not in my usual way presentable but in a respectable way presentable.

I should probably remove my black nail polish and replace it with something decent aka boring. I might have to wear a headscarf because my father is irritated by my hairstyle and I don’t want him get a stroke. I suppose I shouldn’t wear my big dangling earrings and my favourite lace collar either. Sigh. I hate it to assume an air of normalcy / professionalism. If you’re waiting for the point, there’s none, sorry. Gotta go do some serious work now.

This pretty much sums it up
When Good Things Are Happening and You’re Pissed Off

When Good Things Are Happening and You’re Pissed Off

I’m fucked up. Seriously. It confuses and saddens me because I’m a rational person and I don’t make sense to myself. My reactions to things are the opposite of what you, I or anyone would reasonably expect. When something bad happens, I’m perversely pleased and think, Serve me right, I deserve it. When something nice happens, I’m pissed off. Well, WTF?

Today I got an invoice paid for some work which I’ve already done and more work that I’m yet to do. This angered me immensely. I was hoping the invoice wouldn’t get paid and I wouldn’t have to do the rest of the work. Yes, you’re reading right. I’m actually upset I got paid for my work.

Also, I got a new proofreading order for two academic articles. My dream job. I responded to the inquiry with the estimated date of completion and my hourly rate. The customer accepted. Again, I was saddened and pissed off. I don’t want to do anything, I just want to lie down and die.

I also get a coding job to do tonight in an ongoing project. I fucking love coding. Yet I hate it that I have to do it. I wonder why. What’s wrong with me? Anyone has any ideas? Could be that I’m scared I won’t deliver the jobs up to my standards? My standards are much higher than anyone’s standards and my work is safely above-average, so it should be no issue. Am I scared that I won’t meet the deadlines? I bloody always meet the deadlines. So what the hell? I wish I had and made more sense.

I lit my new candle, which I hate because I think I don’t deserve such a nice fancy candle, and I’m off to work. If you figure me out, please do tell me.

I’m Literally Bloody Dying in Here

I’m Literally Bloody Dying in Here

Heyall (my autocomplete corrected heyall to Jerusalem, WTF was it thinking)! I have some news. I’m literally bloody dying here on so many levels (the autocomplete suggests a Bloody Mary).

One, my radiator man is a Godot (I don’t know the word for the guy who does radiators). It’s the second time he promised to show up and was no-show. The bastard is reimbursing me for my electricity bill because my electrical heater is at full blast all day and night, since my regular radiators don’t work.

Two, I’m translating a contract concerning an extrusion line. Don’t ask me what that is. That’s to remain a mystery both to me and anyone who will read my translation. A sensible translation speed for a day’s worth of work is about seven pages. I’ve done fifteen in the last twenty-four hours and have fifteen more to go. Deadline tomorrow. Got the job yesterday. FML.

So what the heck am I doing here (besides dying)? Procrastinating. No, really, I just needed to stretch my legs. So I swung them on the window sill and am typing this in the mobile app again. I might even come to like it. Or hate it less.

If you’re knowledgeable in radiators, extrusion lines, legal English and legal Czech, or one of the aforementioned, come over. Now. Otherwise, send pizza and Oreos. Thanks. I’m off to die.

#nofilter #noedit #dontcare
You Need to Know What I’ve Been Up To

You Need to Know What I’ve Been Up To

I’m so kidding. First, you naturally don’t need to know what I’ve been up to, and second, I haven’t even been up to anything in particular. The following uneventful events have happened:

  • I can now break down an AR45. This is ironic because I’m pacifist. I learned this very dubious skill when translating a manual on how to disassemble an AR45. Of course, in an ideal world, I’d never be translating this because I don’t have a clue about the subject. Also, in an ideal world, I’d reject this job on moral grounds. In the real world, though, my bills don’t give a shit about my high moral ground. Shoot me.
  • I’ve been freezing my ass offLiterally. I probably shouldn’t wear thongs in winter. I don’t mean flip flops. But I want to have nice panties in case of my sudden decease. I’ve already drafted a parting note saying, I told you so. I’ve set up a heater next to my heater (see picture) and keep both at full blast. The mounted heater on the wall isn’t heating, bastard, because it’s probably broken and I’m too anxious to call service. Serve me right.
Double heating
  • I can’t remember when I last left the flat. I haven’t been out forever. Partly because of anxiety (when in doubt, blame it on anxiety) and partly because of the fucking freezing rainy weather. I’ve crafted a voodoo doll of the weatherman and use it as a pincushion. The weather forecast keeps on forecasting mayhem for in(de)finitely.
  • I’ve been getting high on sleeping pills. A sleeping pill is probably not your first go-to option for getting high. It works wondrously for me though. I carelessly took the pill before my evening bathroom routine instead of after, and while I was swaying around so I could hardly find the bed, I had such a great laugh. Don’t ask me what I was laughing at. Probably myself. I’m hilarious, right?
Finding Everyday Inspiration: You Wish, I Write

Finding Everyday Inspiration: You Wish, I Write

Part of WordPress’s writing course Finding Everyday Inspiration.

You wish, I write. The point is: be careful what you wish for! Remember how I asked you what I should write about? Well, here comes the day of the writing challenge when we take a cue from our readers. Huge thanks for everyone’s suggestions! I’d like to cover all, and hope to do so, one by one, but I’ll start chronologically. John from the McLawson blog promptly proposed:

Write about what you like most, whatever it is. A hobby, cats, politics? Local issues. 🤔

Trash to go with my trashy post

Hobby, Leisure, Pleasure

I had to look up the word hobby in a dictionary. The definition wasn’t particularly helpful: an activity done regularly in one’s leisure time for pleasure. I had to proceed to look up leisure and pleasure. From the definition of leisure, I deduce it’s basically a yetti—it’s not real. I mean, free time as in time one is not occupied working? There’s no such a thing. Pleasure I’ve heard before but besides the pleasure principle—avoiding pain and seeking out pleasure—I don’t have a first-hand experience of this concept.

We’re not getting anywhere here. Let’s move on.

Cats, Politics, Local Issues

My personal pleasure principle boils down to seeking out cats and avoiding politics. Cats are the only stimulus to which I respond with spontaneous enthusiasm, one might even say a sensation of pleasure. Politics is my trigger. I avoid it pro-actively. I’m so successful at it that I barely know who the prime minister of my own country is. I don’t even know who the mayor of my town is. Which pretty much covers all I have to say about local issues. Wait, no. There’s one thing: Dear mayor, please place some recycle bins in my street. I’m tired of dragging my recyclables all the way to the other end of the town.

Thank you for reading. To be continued. (Are you scared yet? You’d better be!)

Finding Everyday Inspiration: When I’m Not Writing, I’m Writing

Finding Everyday Inspiration: When I’m Not Writing, I’m Writing

Part of WordPress’s writing course Finding Everyday Inspiration.

Today’s challenging challenge is to describe what you’re doing when you’re not writing. I’m not sure I understand the question. It’s like asking me, the workaholic that I am, what I’m doing when I’m not working. If I’m not working, I’m busy feeling guilty that I’m not working. I’m not sure what there’s to describe about feeling guilty.

There are some additional prompts to the task though. Here are the extra questions, along with my answers: What do you do when you’re not writing? What do you need in your day-to-day life to maintain balance: Running? (No way!) Yoga? (Yes.) Gardening? (I don’t meet the having-a-garden prerequisite.) Painting? (Once a year. Poorly.) Cooking? (Hell no!)

Someone’s been writing here

When I’m not writing, I’m writing.

I write shopping lists. Frozen veggies, soy bites, tofu steak, soy milk, pineapple juice, coffee, coffee yogurt drink, crisp bread, seasoned meat, cat food, Oreos. Above all, Oreos. Also, a standing order for any amount of tissues for my all-year-round allergies.

I write to-do-lists. File my bloody nails already. Take the bloody bin out for the dustmen to collect. Brush the bloody cat’s coat finally. I fiercely hate my to-do-lists. I habitually fail to do them, so I keep writing and rewriting them. Sometimes I freak out and throw them out.

I write emails. Replying to requests. Sending price quotes. Delivering completed orders. Penning polite payment reminders. Worrying that I won’t get paid. Worrying that I’ll type the Facebook message meant for my mother in the body of the email instead. Worrying that I forgot to attach the attachment. Worrying that I sent the wrong attachment. Worrying in general in case something goes wrong.

When I’m not writing, I’m worrying.

Finding Everyday Inspiration: Arguing against Random Old Tweets

Finding Everyday Inspiration: Arguing against Random Old Tweets

Part of WordPress’s writing course Finding Everyday Inspiration.

Today’s challenge relies on a sound concept—using a tweet as inspiration—but to an unsound effect—the sampling of tweets provided does inspire me, but inspires me to undirected anger, hopeless frustration and profound sadness. I’m not sure why, you tell me.

Suggested reasons: chronic depression, overwork, stress [insert further psychiatric diagnoses here as applicable], also, sense of failure, purposelessness, hopelessness [feel free to insert more words from your thesaurus].

Or you can just tell me to shut the fuck up and deal with it because if I can afford to blog, it’s clear I’m privileged enough and have no right to rant about my supposedly miserable life. Your choice.

A faithful reproduction of my muddy mind

How Does the Universe Relate to Me?

It seems to be fashionable to be global rather than local. Perhaps being global is necessary for fulfilling your civil responsibility. My shocking opinion is that our foremost duty is to ourselves. It sounds even more alarming when you put it in the first person: my foremost duty is to myself. This is either simply an unpopular and uncivilised thing to think, or it’s what many people think but are scared to say. My reasoning is that if you’re a mess, you’re not likely to be of any use to anyone else. Fix yourself first and then look around to see where you can help.

Circling back to the tweet, my work is a more immediate, real and relevant threat than a star dying in the universe. I suspect if people looked to the stars less and minded their own business more, the world might have been a less horrendous living experience. I have no means of preventing a star from dying, provided that it would even be a desirable result, and as long as the star doesn’t decide to die by dropping on my head, it doesn’t concern me at present. What does concern me at present are bills to pay.

There Is Such a Thing as Too Much Education

Besides its plagiarising Socrates, I have no particular grudge against this tweet. Since it’s a tweet, it’s naturally simplified. What I lack in the tweet—and what I lack in general—is an acknowledgement that education doesn’t necessarily equal a better job and that there is such a thing as too much education. Speaking from my own experience, obviously.

I have a hypothesis which might be wild (or not, I wouldn’t know, but maybe you do?) but I can’t help suspecting that the more educated, the more unhappy you are. Education usually brings about awareness (I assume that’s the point of education anyway), and already George Orwell (and surely many before him) knew that Ignorance is bliss. Therefore, I reason that the less education and awareness you have, the more ignorant and the more happy you are.

As to the falsity of the education = good job equation, I wish young people were more often and more strongly cautioned against pursuing education without a plan. I chose to study what I loved, which was a terrible idea. So, while I certainly give the impression that I only care about myself, I’d be pleased if other young people took my experience as an example of how not to do it. I’m aware that you can’t convince the young that you know better, but perhaps if they knew your story, they would take it into account just a bit.

I wholeheartedly encourage you to disagree with me and show me that you have more sense (which I’m inclined to believe). Along with you, I hope that tomorrow’s prompt will inspire me to something lighthearted and funny.

What I Hated the Least Today 250/365: The Joys of JavaScript

What I Hated the Least Today 250/365: The Joys of JavaScript

A JS Troll Game

Remember how I reported a year and half ago that I was starting to learn <HTML>? Neither do I. But I found the post for you: it was a What-I-Hated-the-Least-Today number 44. Half a year after this, I decided that my immersion into coding was permanent and sealed the deal with a {CSS} tattoo. It was a Hate-the-Least number 203.

Currently I’m on JavaScript. High on it. It doesn’t need to be assumed that I have meanwhile mastered HTML and CSS, though I did my best. I also dipped into SASS, which is just a sassily named condensed version of CSS. I liked it to start with but then it got too abstract and logical. I know, right. How can I even attempt coding if I have trouble with abstract and logical? Well, *shrug*, I have no idea how come I’m so passionate about something at which I suck so much, but I just am.

Today I had a thrilling JavaScript (JS) revelation. Since I have no one to tell to, I  need to blog about it. So, have you ever wondered how to make a computer choose a random number, such as in lottery? Me neither. Despite me not wondering and you not really wanting to know, I discovered (as many have before me), that JS can be used to make the computer do this.

In JS, there’s this fascinating function, Math.random(). It doesn’t exactly do what it promises: it does produce a random number, but just between zero and one, and most likely not an integer on top of it. To fix the *not-integer* part, there’s the Math.floor() function to add to it. To fix the *between-zero-and-one* part, you can multiply the number by another number. So, e.g., Math.floor(Math.random() * 5). There must be an easier way to do such a simple thing. I’ll report back in several years when I discover it (as many have before me).

Also, don’t get me started about what you can do to random numbers. You can assign them options, for example. If there are two options, you’d use the if/else statement to do something; else you’d use switch, if there are more cases. You don’t need numbers to do if/else or switch, obviously. Today I was practising switching, but since if/elseing is shorter, here’s an if/else if/else. It does nothing in particular, and nothing at all on WordPress, where JS isn’t allowed. It’s just supposed to remind you that you should like code and cats, like I do, because code and cats.

var cat = prompt('Do you like cats? Type YES or NO.').toUpperCase();
if (cat === 'YES') {
} else if (cat === 'NO') {
console.log('We can\'t be friends.');
} else {
console.log('You say what?');

And, finally, here’s my JS-themed recent tweet. Based on actual events.

What I Hated the Least Today 247/365: Embarrassing Translator’s Problems

What I Hated the Least Today 247/365: Embarrassing Translator’s Problems

As a translator, I learn a huge amount of marginally interesting and completely irrelevant information. Thanks to my translating practice, I have in theory acquired skills including but not limited do:

  • How to help a dog deliver puppies. Which is ironic, as I’m a cat person.
  • How to take care of female hygiene during a hike. Which is ridiculous because I neither hike nor do I need to be told in which direction to wipe my ass or how to use wet wipes. Why the fuck does someone write such things and even have them translated into another language?
  • How to use a compass. See above. I was pretty lost when translating this one and so will be any readers of my translation, I suspect.
  • How to pick a Damascus knife. I don’t think I’m the target group for a Damascus knife. I own one universal knife which is probably made of toxic metal.
  • [I can’t think of point number five though there certainly is one, so I’m leaving this bullet empty and will face my OCD about it.]

As a translator, I also ask a large number of weird questions bordering on the perverse. First, I ask myself; then, I ask Google; and finally, I pick the phone and start calling people in my address book to ask them. My recent queries included the following:

  • What is the sheath of a dog’s penis called in my language? I didn’t crack this one because not even the cynologist I have on speed dial knew. I ended up terming it what loosely backtranslates to English as “furry container”. Cute, right?
  • Are trade unions what I think they are? Is it even legal nowadays for workers to unite? Are there trade unions for freelancers? If so, how do I join one in case I wanted to demand equal pay (equal to or greater than my elementary upkeep)? My questions remained unanswered, but I ended up desiring a job in the company whose bulletin I was translating. They looked like they had strong unions.
  • What is the part of the car called which gets warm, is located somewhere under the car and attracts  cats and martens who perch there and chew on the wires and cables?  My Phone-a-Friend friend knew exactly what I meant but also knew nothing about cars, so I called it “engine” and was done with it. I’m aware that a car’s engine is probably not located under the car but it was the only car part I could name. Also, the idea was that you should keep your pet away from it to prevent burns.

I guess I suck as a translator.