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There are two things that are making me think of this ill-translated menu I had the chance to hold for a minute or two while I considered which version of a cheese sandwich I should order (melted, of course) in Puno, Peru, while I waited for the next bus out of dodge, that would take me to meet some very cool Californians and also to the doctor for what was a brewing, pulsing infection in the nailbed of my right ring finger (one of my favorites, for the record).

story here:

The first thing is that I’ve been translating my little brain out all day, and as I posted on twitter (what? you don’t follow that? why ever not!, I’m @bearshapedspher due to username length constraints which I must say I feel are antibearshapedspherist), I love it more than is rational or can be explained. I love translating because there are words! And you can knit them into sentences or unravel them into dependent clauses and skip around and make them dance, and ultimately make them do whatever you want. It’s a beautiful thing, really. Spanish to English, occasional dictionary or internet support, NEVER machine translation, which may or may not be what happened to our fair menu, as seen above.

The other thing that has me thinking of that menu is how I felt when I held it in my hands. I was just a couple of days post puke-in-a-2-liter-bottle and still a little green around the gills. And my first attempt at standing up for any period today has demonstrated to me what I already knew. Words may dance and swirl in my brain, and so swims my brain in my head, and I should just sit the heck back down.

But social duty and birthday-gift distribution call, and the words will still be here when I get back. I hope I can get them to all swim in the same direction at once. A school of words, if you will. My dream snorkel adventure. What’s yours?

And for more menu translation fun, don’t miss Margaret’s post and compendium of links on the subject.