Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Could We Please Not Do This?

No, those squiggles are not Arabic. I don't know the Arabic alphabet, but I do know that it's written from right to left, not the other way around, the way English does it.

It's annoying and condescending: those incomprehensible squiggles that others use must fit into English somehow! And if you know the alphabet, it's disorienting, requiring a bit of thought. Like the Russian Я, which is not a backwards R, but the sound "ya." Gets me every time.

And, um, a translator works with written texts. An interpreter gives you the meaning of spoken words in real time. From my first visits to the United Nations, I've always admired interpreters.

No comments: