Saturday, July 3, 2010


From the journal

6:07 AM

And so the morning begins in cool and breezy silence….at least for some moments. It is a passing but welcome peace that settles here in the living room where I am tucked into a couch corner with the front section of the paper and mug number one of caffeinated glory. But first, important and handy words I learned while translating last night. My favorite is matiz, nuance. SO nice to know how to say that! Amparo- protection; al amparo de- with the help of; to say nothing of learning the words for each sense! There were more than a couple moments of “Oh, wow, there IS a word for that!”

I was telling someone about the wonder of that and she asked, “Why didn’t you simply look it up in the dictionary if you needed it before?” In other words, the word has always been available to me, why such a revelation?

Hm. To explain or not to explain? I opted for not. But, for the record, here’s why.

Some of it is because of the moments of “I need a word that means….” Sometimes you know the meaning of the word you want to translate but not the word itself, which renders a riffle through the dictionary potentially interesting, but not precise.

And then you have those times when you might be thinking of the word, but when you look up the word, it is not translated with the same word you might encounter later on that more accurately suggests it. Matiz for nuance is an example. Faceta, facet, is ~ish to matiz, nuance.

Also, sometimes it is simply neat to know that a word means multiple things. Colmar can be used for both fill-to-the-brim and to fulfill. Knowing both translations might color your choice between various options and on a rather basic level, you have the added satisfaction of knowing that you made a conscious choice to use the fullness of a word. You chose the word for a particular use because you were aware of its depth. The reader or other half of a conversation might never know that is why you used it, but the writer or the speaker knows. For me, that counts for something.

This is much, I imagine, like the feeling might be to just once pull out the stops when you drive in order to feel the full potential of the engine’s design when under ordinary circumstances you might be testing it at about half capacity. Ever after the layout, the driver knows the engine’s fullness. It is felt within and at the same time both a thrill and something that passengers need not necessarily know or experience. The driver knows and that is enough…most of the time.

But sometimes, it is just too cool to not share.

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