Wednesday, May 2, 2007

My Work Today

My work is such an incredible unimaginable hodgepodge of subjects that I literally forget what I wrote about during the day by the time evening rolls around. I’ll find myself listening to Chi Vuole Essere un Milionario? on TV (the Italian version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire?) when the answer to some bizarre question about botany or mechanical engineering pops out of my mouth. This is usually when my family turns to look at me like they don’t even know me, because on the outside I appear quite ditzy, and usually can’t remember to go to the grocery store. But my work involves filling my brain, even temporarily, with all kinds of eclectic knowledge and strange facts, some useless and some useful, powerful even. All of which is almost always fleeting (I’m pushing forty).
So, my work today included:
Assembly instructions for a barbeque grill (I didn’t know that these things were that dangerous… WARNING: risk of serious injury or death to persons or animals if these instructions are not carefully read and adhered to).
A magazine article about Fleet Week in New York City (ah… the good old days in New York, where I went to college… Fleet Week back then meant summer was near, and men in sailor suits on every corner).
A website description for a lovely hotel on the Sicilian coast (it’s raining here).
A patent application for a new aluminum alloy.
Descriptions of luxury Italian fabrics for haute couture.
My work as a translator has made me realize that someone, somewhere actually had to write every word written everywhere. Someone wrote those instructions for your blender, the in-flight magazine in the seat pocket in front of you, the jabberwocky on the side of your kid’s cereal box, the flowery description of Rome’s Trevi Fountains. There is this invisible army of people hammering away on their keyboards getting the word out.
Some of my most interesting job assignments are interviews, especially those by politicians. Italian politicians are notorious blowhards, and I enjoy the challenge of maintaining their pompous syntax and bullshit in the English version.
I like to imagine that my job manages to keep my brain nimble. Of course, that’s just my imagination.
Anything is better than housework.

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