To be a translator, believe me it’s sad,
To be a translator, you have to be mad-
Who else would sit in a room
Encased in loneliness more like a tomb?
Who else would fondle a microphone cable
Or typewriter keyboard when perfectly able
To fondle some better more pliant device?
(It happens to others, they say it’s quite nice.)
Who else would apply so much love, care, devotion
To something that is another man’s notion?
Who else would spend hours to seek out one word
Just to ensure he writes nothing absurd?
Who else would read carefully through some epistle
Produced by a half-wit who had better whistle
Than write rotten copy that doesn’t mean much,
Yet expects a translation in, say, perfect Dutch?
Who else would accept that every job’s hot
When he knows that it’s probably not
And flog himself silly to see the work through
Then wait for three months not collecting one sou?
Who else would put up at social occasions
With statements like: “Oh, you do translations.-
There’s not much to that, after all it’s your lingo,
So where are the problems, why labour that thing so?”
Who else would be willing each day of the year
To sit exam where the pass-mark’s a mere
One hundred percent or perhaps just below?
If you think that’s easy, why not have a go?
And yet it’s a challenge which on reflection
Provides enormous job satisfaction.
Those who enjoy it will never desert
The odd fascination of the “foreign” word
-Wort, oh what the hell…
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