The author of the following article is Caterina Berger. She works as a freelancer for the translation agency Linguation in the field of content creation and online marketing. She majored in Japanese Studies and is working towards a doctorate in General Linguistics. Her favourite area is sociolinguistics and intercultural communication. We are pleased to have her as a guest author.
Admittedly, my title is not exactly original, but there are good reasons for that. In fact it is hard to describe life as a translator more accurately. Between clients who question every syllable of their ten-year-old internship testimony and those who would like to have their 500-page dissertation translated into Chinese by the end of the week, we have the pleasure of coping with unpaid invoices, unclear instructions and corrupt file formats.
This morning after the yoga flow programme and feeding the birds in the garden, I discovered an article in the newspaper that took me back in time: The Bauer publishing house is opening its Bravo Archive from 1956 – 1994 (https://www.bravo-archiv.de/home.php).
Yes, yes, Bravo. When I discovered it then, at the age of 12, shortly before the Olympic Games in Munich, I was immediately one of its millions of enthusiastic readers. Because when I was 12, my life consisted of school, homework, meeting friends on the street and on weekends largely of boredom. Bravo was a grateful distraction, as it fuelled a 12-year-old girl’s many fantasies.
Did you read it too? In Greenland and Hong Kong the consumption of alcohol has been banned or severely restricted. And in Mexico the Corona brewery was closed down. While in Nuuk, Greenland’s capital, no more alcohol can be purchased, in Hong Kong no drinks with more than 2.25 percent alcohol content were allowed to be served and sales were completely prohibited.
It would be easy to fill our blog with just a list of events and topics that depress you. Here’s just a sample: Climate change, populism, the refugee problem and our response, political “leaders”, fake news, hate speech, consumer waste, knife crime, endangered species, insect decimation, locusts in Africa, child abuse, hunger, sex discrimination, obesity, Brexit, plastic in whales’ stomachs, Trump’s inability to put a sentence together without the words “wonderful” or “beautiful”, floods, fires and now a deadly virus. It’s enough to make you want to emigrate – but where to???
If you want a breath of fresh air and the chance to say to yourself, “Pull yourself together!”, then this is the book you need. Hans Rosling (1948-2017), Swedish head of the Division of International Health at Karolinska Institutet and advisor to the WHO and UNESCO, co-founder of Médecins sans Frontières, combines his experience and knowledge of world health with statistics. Sounds dry and boring, doesn’t it!
I told you about the “eco etiquette” and my attempt to reduce my own
ecological footprint. In the meantime I have changed a number of processes and
products in my everyday life and I am still in the process of finding out how
big its effect might be. It is a complex undertaking… For some issues it is
made easy for me: there is a credible book, an expert or a reputable website
that can help. In other areas it is more complicated.
of this is the matter of how you would like to organize your parting from the
Earth. Is there an “green” burial? You start at the end, so to speak,
but everyone has to consider it eventually, so why not now? In addition to the
relevant literature, I discovered a fascinating source of information on this
subject: the local crematorium organised an open day.
The two-part article “Too much bloody choice!” (published on 21st and 28th February 2020) ignited an impassioned discussion in the Harlequin team. We wondered whether it was an issue that affects all sections of the population or just the 50+ generation. Therefore, we were curious to hear the younger generation’s view. We are very happy to post a guest contribution by Ricarda Fillhardt, who looks at the “agony of choice” from a different perspective. Ricarda is a student and currently lives in Edinburgh.
I certainly doubt an excess of choice makes us happy. Just last week I spent so much time trying to decide what to watch on Netflix that it was too late once I had (semi-content) settled on a film and went to bed instead. I also recently decided to treat myself to a wellness day on my birthday and must have spent hours on tripadvisor trying to find the best option in the vast amount of saunas and wellness centres my home town had to offer. However, this rarely occurs to me as a problem. I grew up with choice.
After spending months digitising my CD’s I decided to go for streaming as Tidal offered lossless sound quality and almost infinite choice of rock, jazz, blues and classical music. They even have stuff I recorded off Radio Luxembourg on AM with the signal fading regularly on a tape recorder! At first it was paradise – listen to virtually anything you want, when you want without the risk of buying a CD (or an LP) for a fair bit of money and discovering you don’t really like it. But after a while I got the “Ben and Jerry’s” again: instead of examining my limited number of discs and deciding on the strength of the cover or the memory of the disc’s contents as I’d played it so often, I was again stumped by the infiniteness of it all.
When I was a kid if you had any choice at all it was “Take it or leave it”. As time progressed, we actually got BBC Home Service (for topical events, Women’s Hour, the original soap “The Archers” and half-hour comedies), the Third Programme (heavy culture) and the Light Programme (for music Dads and Grandads appreciated) on what we called the wireless.
I can first remember being utterly flummoxed by the range of choice when visiting Ben and Jerry’s ice cream factory in Vermont years ago. After an entertaining tour including us having answer questions with “moo” instead of “yes” we queued up to get ice cream. From a distance we could make out the numerous varieties, most of which were new to us then, so we pondered which to choose.
While sorting through my mother’s estate, I came across the “Öko-Knigge” ecological etiquette guide (unfortunately not translated into English). Rainer Griesshammer’s book was published in 1984, and I gave it to her sometime in the 80s as a birthday present – which proves that the admonishing index finger was not only pointed from mother to daughter, but also vice versa.