JOST A MON

The idle ramblings of a Jack of some trades, Master of none

Translation from one language into another is a fraught process and demands the most acute judgment possible of the translator. Idioms, especially, are sensitive beasts and require careful handling. It must be said, further, that synonyms are the beastliest of all.

While reading the acknowledgments in an academic paper written in English by an Italian researcher, I found myself grinning at her choice of words. This is what she wrote:

"I thank ... and an anonymous referee for their precious comments and suggestions."

I suspect she meant 'valuable', but if not, what wonderful irony, what a delectable slight!

3 comments:

John said...

That's terrific, especially if you skip over the more familiar meanings of "precious" and get down to "affectedly or excessively delicate."

Fëanor said...

John: indeed. I also meant that 'precious' could mean 'flagrant', as in 'a precious fool'.

V Ramesh said...

Simple as is, language is used to communicate and non english natives tend to use the English language as per their interpretation.

My father used to tell, English is the only language where there is "running nose" and "feet that smells"

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