The Three Billy Goats Gruff

Count Smorltalk feeds the trolls   Trolls eat people. Giants and ogres like to eat people too. Even sweet-tempered ogresses are partial to a human or two for tea. A Count would be but a light afternoon snack. And it doesn’t really help...

Interpreter Stories: Secret Society

I’ve just read a very disheartening interview with an anonymous conference interpreter, who was basically explaining the doom, gloom and misery of working in this field. Indeed, it is a difficult profession, with no financial guarantees, with...

To be, or not to be

Count Smorltalk asks the question “To be, or not to be, that is the question”. That is the question? Well, if you say so. It doesn’t look or sound much like a question to me. I mean where’s the question mark for starters? I guess that the Bard...

Translate this! CONSCIOUS UNCOUPLING

I’ve just read in the Guardian that Gwyneth Paltrow (pictured) and Chris Martin have split up. If you don’t know who Gwyneth Paltrow is, where have you been in the last 15 years? If you don’t know who the hell Chris Martin...

Who’s a pretty boy then?

Count Smorltalk hogs the microphone again Take a walk in Parc de Bruxelles this spring and you may suspect that someone is lobbing tennis balls from treetop to treetop. These balls of greased lightning zip across the sky trailing green streaks...

Translate this! HUMBLEBRAG

“This unhealthy genius-lust drives people to say things like, ‘My nine year old is reading Flaubert’ before adding, ‘in translation, unfortunately’ thus turning their ghastly boast into an even more ghastly...

What have the Romans ever done for us?

Count Smorltalk calls a spade a spade “Apart from the sanitation, the medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, a fresh water system, and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?”1 What indeed? Actually they gave...

In praise of nonsense

Count Smorltalk talks a load of old cobblers A good friend of mine, and a stupendous interpreter to boot, once made the profound and ever so slightly arch utterance, that the way to be a good interpreter was quite simple: “Know all the words”...

Interpreter Stories: “Something...

To study conference interpreting was nothing more than a random thought at the time when the economic and financial crisis hit the world the hardest in 2008. I was an executive assistant to vice president of SsangYong Motor Company – one...

Falling on deaf ears

Count Smorltalk’s pearls “How was it for you?” I asked the nice blonde lady into whose ear I had but moments before been whispering sweet nothings. “Oh, very good. Very good indeed!” she purred. “I so admire your technique”. Now that is a...