Wednesday, June 17, 2009

How Translators are really Trannies

I recently made a passing joke about translators being "trannies" but as I plow through volumes of Japanese text it dawns on me how true this metaphor-analogy (a.k.a. meta-anal) is.

Translating is just like gender-pandering. First, you have to understand this is a superficial treatment of the surface. There are not necessarily any structural or subcutaneous changes made to the original. You just give the elements a different persona, exterior; a version others can understand and intercourse with.

Step 1. The Tuck.
I like to start translating with the big stuff. Go into the "meat" of the text and just start making all that is Foreign, American. This is the basic F to A procedure.

Step 2. Shave.
Now that you've gotten yourself a technical American, you have to make it as transparently manifest as possible. No use tucking if the rest of your body is hairy. So shave. This means taking something like:

He stared at her glaringly. (tucked)
He glared at her. (shaved)

Step 3. Make-up/Dress-up.
This last step can usually be performed by any half-decent editor, but a good tranny doesn't need a make-up artist. She can play to her tells and make it so that you second-guess your judgements. You know she's a tranny, but she foin as all hell.

mm mm MM.


Deborah said...

Terrific description of translating. Tuck and shave and dress up. I like to tuck and shave simultaneously if possible and avoid having to sweep up the pile of hair that fills up the room.

Some manuscripts are hairier than others...

Deborah said...

P.S. I shared this post with my class of budding trannies at the local women's university. The three simple steps were easy to understand and digest, and the new name for the job was ever so appealing. I've also linked it to my blog. (You don't need to post this comment, it's FYI. Thanks for the great idea!)

ill iterate said...

I post this because you rule. This tidbit rules. hahahaha