Ever since my book got published last April, I`ve been enduring what can only be described as a crash course in "acceptance" and "letting go". My latest adventure in letting go has involved my reluctant acceptance that I will never be able to speak Dutch.
And this is a very inconvenient obstacle when one is the subject of a feature article in a Dutch Daily Newspaper.
Being in the media is difficult enough. I`ve had to accept how little control I have over the angle that any journalist takes on my story. Getting interviewed for a news article is a bit like having your caricature drawn by a total stranger. He may decide to accentuate the length of your nose or the size of your ass for the sheer entertainment value involved, and that is his prerogative. It is also his job.
That being the case, I have to say that reading an article about myself --which has just been processed through machine translation software-- can be best likened to looking through a kaleidoscope and into a funhouse mirror at the same time...while also on acid. Just for fun, and to remind myself why I still have a job as a human translator, I plugged the Dutch article into three different online translation websites. The worst by far was freedictionary.com, which, as it turns out, is free for a reason.In the following passage I am talking to the reporter about being a sober drunk as we walk around Ginza, all of which is lost in this translation:
....One and a half year Jacobs ago got a kick has avoided off of the drink and since then they Ginza. Until tonight. They self looks surprised off. ‘Ik see fit lifted actual what there now all on street. When I yet as a hostess I was worked so self-obsessed! I was drank began always already before I, because I felt me then better. Bear confidence, I named dat.’
No no, it was BEER confidence, dat`s what i named dat! Wait, did i even coin that phrase? Likely not. And I certainly make no claims it...
......Het best with difficulty here again is to be walked. What I it mostly wrong, I realize myself now, is the excitement and make it yourself well every evening. I was infinitely busy with make-up, nagellak, sexy dresses and high hook shoes. That must also for that was my werk.
Also, I`m not entirely sure what this is supposed to mean, but it just makes me feel dirty:
....Young, attractive women lubricate strip the guests round the mouth and stick full devotion cigarettes at and serve urges in.
......Western men are not the target group. Jacobson: ‘Want that go it sleepiness from out that it wél surreptitious in the rear rooms for sex are. Or they ask self off about which you this work do and have at the same time a judgement ready. They do not understand the draft. In the western society, everything plays self off at the oppervlakte. In the Japanese society, everything lifted that just neat onder.’
The translation service provided by Yahoo.com is a step up, by which I mean that I can almost tell what the article is trying to say. Yet its insistence that my book was, in fact, the story of my sordid past as a flight attendant, did start waring on me. (I would have been an awful flight attendant. Yes, I`m still scared of airplanes.)
In a flight attendant club....Young, attractive women palm off the guests stroop the mouth and twinges full devotion cigarettes and pour drinks. They hold animated or sensitive conversations at the same time and seduce them their customers to ordering expensive bottles spirits, because they get a percentage of the turnover. , Cost respectively champagne and tequila around three hundred and honderdtachtig the euro by bottle.
....Does she have ever regrets has of its flight attendant past? `It not the best experience has perhaps been from my life but I needed it adult become. Still I miss agitation and all attention. But I am now at last able build something. No, I am possible never more to that world.
Yes! I am possible never more to that world! Of course that`s not what I really said, but I think I am going to start saying that!!!
The best- and I use that term lightly- machine translation software, is that provided by google. It even allows me to discuss the intricacies of married life in Japan as follows:
"The marriage in Japan often degenerates into a kind of business agreement...On monogamy is not heavy lift...That does not mean that Japanese men do not take their wives...Pride told me they see photos of their families. But when I challenged them and asked them why not more often with their own wife slept, was often the answer: 'Because she's always too busy with the kids. "
And also, my highly fuckedup relationship with the customer called Douhanman:
It is a regular customer due - dohanman because of the many events that he paid with her - that Jacobson still has hold as long as moth. In exchange for her friendship, she even went along to family celebrations, he's always saved from the fire as she was again bankrupt or out of her house was. "With dohanman I even went shopping, which he paid...We had a close friendship. There was just no physical attraction. I often felt guilty because I keep him there again verleidde to me so much money to spend. But then I thought you have the rules made me not take the blame when you lose!
I do believe my exact words for that last line, and I only know this because I am partially ripping them off from a Bikini Kill song, were: "You made the rules, so don`t blame me when you lose." Yahoo considers this to mean: "You have not made the rules, take it me then evil if you lose!" Freedictionary.com, on the other hand, insists that "You made the rules, take loses the me then not nasty as you!"
Regardless of who is the nasty one, I think I am done playing at machine translations for a while. It suddenly seems much easier to just try my luck at "acceptance and letting go." Besides, I`m too old to drop acid anymore.