Trying to spin straw into gold

Once again I find myself in the unenviable position of trying to spin straw into gold. 
This time, the bunch of texts in question are intended for the website of a certain educational institution, and are a total hodge-podge: some seem to have been written by top people in this institution, while others are bits and pieces of existing material – an informational leaflet, an old presentation, pale or incompetent summaries of better-written texts already in existence on the Internet. Most need translating from Hebrew to English, some the other way round.

Having initially seen only a couple of samples, I had thought this job would be smooth sailing.  But as I continue to struggle with the £$%^&* texts, and, as the administrator in charge keeps pressuring me, I find it hard, if not impossible, to explain to her why on earth it's taking longer than I thought. 
What can I say?
Listen, miss, your bosses may be great guys, brilliant educators, fantastic at running a college, but they can't write to save their lives?
Yeah sure, that'll go down well. Not to mention that it sounds suspiciously like a bad workman blaming his tools. 

Most likely, even if I did have the chance to point out to the lady an example of an inane, illogical sentence, she wouldn’t see what's wrong with it; after all, it was written by the guy from the Board of Directors! And it contains such important words as school climate, striving for excellence, etc etc.  Ah, yes, and that most impressive of buzz words, “core values”; what would any institution or organization be without lofty core values? They all sound exactly alike… no imagination, no originality. Everyone wants to assure us that, above all, they are committed to quality, integrity, service, blah blah… Hell, even the Spanish Inquisition had core values; but at least those were [fiendishly] original:

Our *three* weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency...and an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope.... Our *four* *Amongst* our weapons.... Amongst our weaponry...are such elements as fear, surprise....  Wait, let’s try again: Amongst our weaponry are such diverse elements as: fear, surprise, ruthless efficiency, an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope, and nice red uniforms -
 (c) Monty Python [who else?!]

And on this happy note I shall return to my private torture of finishing this translation.


Post a Comment