Wednesday, August 30, 2006

On converting men to software and animals

A few weeks ago I received an email via Proz from some Pakistani Fazul who wanted me to help him. The subject heading sounded like one of those poor lepers with outstretched arms sitting in front of Karachi Airport - "for God sake help me". Since it came via Proz, and I take Proz seriously, I actually read it - to my great merriment.

"I extend my hearty greetings to you and would like like to seek you assistance in the field of translation as I am a bilingula translator of Arabic/English and I am working in Pakistan with foriegen mission as arabic/English translator but could u help me to become on line translator."

I dread to think which "foriegen mission" would employ an Urdu-speaker to do Arabic/English translations? Ussie and Bros? Aymanco Propaganda Services? Now this guy is so sick of being a human that he wants an Ozzie (maybe because we have a reputation for innovation?) to convert him into a piece of software. Well, considering his standard of English, he has all the pre-requisites to become a Babelfish. But no, he wanted to become a bird. Suicidal, must be, with all this avian flu around.

I wrote him a rather offish reply telling him he could start by "learning to write proper English" and that it wasn't tandoori cooking. I thought that this would be enough. I was naive.

Four days later, a reply: "as Khalil Jabran said " Shall I coo like a pagon to please you , or shall I roar like a lion to please my self".

Never heard of Khalil saying this, but hey! the guy has dropped the robotics issue and now wants to rejoin the animal kingdom in the guise of the Birdlion.

"first of all whatever you wrote to me I really appreciate " the way you tried to make understand that the field of translation is not child give psychological lessons by telling me that go and start reading english articles . Madam I will coo and obey all those will can teach me and help me in translation fild."

Of course I didn't say any of that. Maybe it was some other sucker who did?? But, coo, my dear Taliban, coo. I have no idea when English in Pakistan deteriorated to this extent - only the lowest dregs in India write such rubbish, and here you have aspiring translators butcher the language they will be translating from/into - whatever. Even Bangladesh is beginning to sound better.

"let me tell you madam that both English and Arabic are not my native languages I am Pakistani student who tried to learned Arabic and English and started his career as Arabic/English translator."

Good luck, matey. Not much to learn - for Ussie and Bros you are as good as they come. Can you shoot, per chance?

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