Tuesday, April 3, 2012

One bad day

Last week I took on a job that I probably shouldn’t have. I knew the end of last week and the weekend were going to be busy, but I figured I could probably squeeze in enough hours to get the work done. Then suddenly Sunday came along, and I had too much work left. I worked all day and all night, until 3:10 am, to get it sent off in time. I didn’t do a very good editing job, but I knew there would be an editor. At least I got the project finished in time.

Today I got the review back, and the editor wrote about me to the project manager, “...the translator shows an immense lack of respect for […] writing rules” and, “…he/she has no knowledge whatsoever of […] punctuation rules and poor knowledge of proper grammar.” I looked over the changes that had been made, and although there were more mistakes there than there should have been, there certainly were not enough to warrant this kind of assault. (You’re just going to have to take my word for it – it wasn’t that bad - really!) I have edited far worse translations myself, without feeling compelled to attach any comments, and certainly not launch a personal, offensive attack. In fact, when I am paid to edit, this is what I think I should do – correct other people’s mistakes – and not spew patronizing insults about someone I know nothing about. The only thing that would make me say something to the project manager would be if the translation was incomplete, or made absolutely no sense at all. (Unfortunately, this has happened.) But then I would state this simple fact, show some examples, and leave the rest to the project manager. I would certainly not generalize or try to defame the translator. One mistake I had made in the text was followed by the comment, “This is unacceptable!” I mean, really, what kind of person does that?

I was hurt, put down, and professionally discouraged. I’m thinking that maybe I’m not skilled enough for this job.

And then the taxi driver called me a whore when I wouldn’t pay him an extra $5 for the taxi ride home from the store. The official rate set by the City of Beirut is 10,000 Lebanese pounds, which is about $7.50. Usually taxi drivers will still try to get more though - at least from me, a foreigner. This taxi driver was no different, and asked for $10 initially. I followed protocol and negotiated the fare before getting into the taxi. After just one exchange, the taxi driver agreed to 10,000, and we took off. Then during the five minute trip, he said that he wanted $10 after all. Since I’m “so wealthy,” and since he took the wrong turn in the beginning and had to drive further than he should have, and I really should pay more. When we got home I handed him a 10,000 pound bill as originally agreed. He threw the money on the ground, and continued to call me names – at least I think so, although my Arabic class has yet to cover the section “Insults by taxi drivers,” so I might be wrong.

Oh, and school didn’t go so well today either. The boys are tired and in need of a break. I feel however that we really need to push through these next couple of days until Easter so that we don’t fall behind. This makes me feel stressed, tense, and the boys frustrated.

So there; I’m no good at my job, I’m a rich and selfish whore who is not welcome in this country I live in, and I’m a stressed, bad homeschooling mom.

Well. Thank you, dear reader, for watching me roll around in my own self-pity for a while. You can go do something more pleasant now, while I get up and brush off my clothes, wipe my tears and take a deep breath. I promise tomorrow will be better.

1 comment:

  1. That's a little bit how I'm feeling today—just like a failure. Though you have cause to be feeling worse. All I had was a bad mothering day (without all that other stuff factored in). I'm sorry today was hard for you. :(

    But I like your last paragraph the best because that's really all that we can do—just pick ourselves up, brush ourselves off, take a deep breath and move on.

    Good luck until you can take your Easter break! You all deserve it, I'm sure! :)