The Linguist

The Linguist 58,5 - October/November 2019

The Linguist is a languages magazine for professional linguists, translators, interpreters, language professionals, language teachers, trainers, students and academics with articles on translation, interpreting, business, government, technology

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 17 of 35

18 The Linguist Vol/58 No/5 2019 FEATURES Anita van Adelsbergen considers the many challenges of specialising in canine and equine translation W hen you are working on a translation and can't find a certain word, Google will usually find your answer. But as an interpreter in the middle of a field, arena or paddock, that is a bit more difficult. And when it comes to equine interpreting, just knowing your vocabulary does not suffice; you need to understand the context in order to find the correct words. The term 'riding hat', for example, translates into Dutch and German as paardrijcap and die Reitkappe respectively. However, if the setting is polo, the hat becomes a helmet and the Dutch and German term would be helm. 'Equestrian' is, itself, a surprisingly broad specialisation. A Western rider (i.e. one who adopts the laid-back, cowboy-style way of riding that has found its way from the US to Europe) uses different equipment (or 'tack') to a dressage or jumping rider, so knowledge of the entire sport – and all its disciplines – is essential. It takes a lot of time to maintain such knowledge. There are even equine translators who specialise in just one discipline, such as carriage driving or horse racing. All disciplines have their own lingo. In horse racing, for instance, there can be a 'change of rider' (Reiterwechsel in German) just before the start of a race, but this would never happen in a jumping or dressage setting, where rider and horse are entered as a team. Until 2017, the four finalists at World Showjumping championships had to ride each other's horses in order to decide who won, but this should never be translated as Reiterwechsel. To complicate matters, new disciplines keep emerging. Most people will be familiar with the more well-known sports, such as dressage ('horse dancing'), showjumping and eventing, which is also referred to as three day eventing and combines dressage, showjumping and a cross-country course over natural fences. In Dutch, this used to be called military and, although it is now officially known as 'eventing' in both English and Dutch, many shows in the Netherlands still carry that name. 'DANGEROUS' ANIMALS Working with and around animals can be dangerous unless you speak the animal's language. We all know that it is not a good idea to stand behind a horse, as it may give you a (fatal) kick; people who speak 'horse' will be able to tell what kind of horse they are dealing with and read warning signals. An angry or distressed horse, for example, will flatten its ears in such a way that they are pointed backwards, rather than up or forwards. If a horse shows a lot of white in its eyes, this may indicate discomfort or aggression. Assessing the horse's entire body language offers valuable information about its state of mind. Horses that are for sale are usually young and lively. I once interpreted for a Dutch stallion owner and an Italian buyer in a cold and windy arena. The stallion did not appreciate the weather and wanted to go back inside. The owner did his best to sum up the horse's positive traits and pedigree quickly. I struggled to hear due to the wind and was hesitant to get closer to the horse, as I had noticed the position of his ears and one of his hind legs, ready to lash out. Trying to come up with the correct technical words in Italian while jumping away from the horse at the right moments was an example of multitasking at its most extreme. One might think that horse shows are less challenging in this regard. In most cases, an interpreter/translator will work in the show secretary's office or alongside the VIP and ANIMALS AT WORK

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Linguist - The Linguist 58,5 - October/November 2019