Stop interp‘laining me!

David is a journalist. David is busy. He‘s underpaid, overworked, and jaded. His deadlines are insane. If he doesn‘t crank out article after article, he‘ll be back to office errand boy in no time. So no, he has no time for your terminology pet peeves:




Listen, I get it. You‘re an interpreter and you‘re sick and tired of being called a translator.

You know what? Get a life. Who do you think you are? Nicole Kidman? Did you know her Sidney Pollack movie was initially going to be called “The Translator” in Germany? One of your associations fixed that in the nick of time, but if you think anybody actually cares, I have bad news: nobody really cares. Sure, there is the occasional correction but who reads corrections anyway?

Everybody knows people today have the attention span of goldfish. And people don‘t want to read the same word over and over again. They want variety. So I’ll refer to you as “simultaneous translators” or “instant translators” as I damn well please.

I’m not scared of your passive-aggressive comments and tweets. Quite the contrary: the more you shout at me, the more I’ll go “la-la-la, I can’t hear you”! I’ll write how you work in “glass boxes,” because: “booths”? Really? You might as well call them stalls!

Heck, if you don’t stop interp’laining me, I’ll make sure that whenever I speak in meetings with translation (ha!), I put my earpiece right in front of the microphone and then - oh yes! - tap on the microphone to make sure you can “hear me OK”. I’ll intermittently turn away from the mic while I read out my Dickens-style speech at break-neck speed. Ha! That’ll teach you! And you know what? I’m not a native speaker of English, but I’ll speak it nonetheless pretending that “it’s easier for the translators”.

So there you go. Just grow up and let me do my work in peace. I’m going back to work - that listicle about ten celebrity blunders you haven’t heard about doesn’t write itself. You’ll never guess what happens next!





My friend and Troublesome Terps co-host Jonathan Downie wrote a thoughtful reply in “defence of interp’laining”.

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