Dearest Linguini,

My boyfriend left me after a very long and committed relationship. I can’t sleep at night and my translating has gone from bad to worse! I have, however, written a short poem expressing my feelings. I call it Evolution.

At first we were a collocation,
Now our names are just a free-word combination.

I’m afraid that losing my boyfriend will influence my future career. I just can’t imagine flunking university and spending the rest of my life translating the obituary columns of our village newspaper. How can I move on?

- Plain Jane

My dear Plain Jane, can’t you see
He can’t feel your poetry.

Sure you’re sad and feel alone
(Want to ring him on the phone),

But let’s face it, Janey dear,
He doesn’t sound like Richard Gere.

You – now, there’s another story.
One with ending far less gory.

And as sure as grandpa’s socks are smelly,
Your name will be up there with Shelly.

- Linguini

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Dear Linguini,

I am extremely worried. Whenever I get the chance, I steal secret glances at my friends’ dashes! What’s worse, I keep comparing them to my own. When browsing the Internet, I often find myself going through very specific sites. I just love looking at the different shapes, lengths, sizes, and colours. However, none of these look like the one I have! Some girls have even commented on how funny mine looks. For one, everybody seems to have a straight one, but mine has the tendency to curve slightly downwards, especially when I’m under pressure. I lie awake at night, thinking about my dash and feeling like I’m never going to fit in! Please help.

Dashed Dreams

Dear DD,

If I had a nickel for every time someone came up to me with a similar problem, I’d be two (Canadian) dollars richer. I know that many young people often feel very self-conscious and insecure. Comparing one’s dash with that of a friend is completely normal. What you must realise is that yours is unique and I’m sure you will come to accept it in time for all its many uses. The beauty of a dash, as you might know, is that you can stick it almost everywhere (it’s quite willy-nilly that way). It’s how you use it – not how long or unsightly it may be – that really matters. I am sure you are the type of dashing young gentleman that cannot wait to get out into the world and start using his fine dash!

- Linguini

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Danes izide težko pričakovani časopis. Ob tej priložnosti objavljam drugo polovico rubrike, pri kateri kreativno sodelujem.

Dear Linguini,

I am a 21-year-old student at the Translation Department. Me and this girl were practicing our French the other night and I had a premature conjugation. Now, she said that it’s nothing to be ashamed of, that it happens to everyone. I just have to be patient and practice a lot. I’m still worried that I’ll under perform at the big test. Please, help. Signed: A Night in Paris.

My dear A Night in Paris,

It looks like your girlfriend is more experienced than you are as she is absolutely right. The key is not to rush into things and always use your head. Start slow with simple exercises and then you’ll be able to tackle trickier situations. Good oral performance is of vital importance so be sure not to neglect that area. The other important thing is rhythm. Keep that in your head and plough bravely ahead. Eventually, things will start feeling natural and everything will come out okay.

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Na oddelku za prevajalstvo je minuli mesec začel izhajati časopis Kreolko. Z bartom sva bila mnenja, da je preveč resno zastavljen in (za spremembo) sva se odločila, da nekaj ukreneva. V novi številki bova torej štartala z rubriko, ki sva jo poimenovala “Ask Linguini”. Kot ste pravilno ugotovili, bo šlo za rubriko v stilu tete Justi, v njej pa bova na (upava) humoren način predstavila razne prevajalske zagate. Zadevo boste imeli priložnost prebrati tudi tukaj. Še več, premierno predstavljam prvi problem 2 tedna pred izidom Kreolka!

Drum roll …

Dear Linguini,

My problem is very unusual and so far I haven’t told a soul. I have no one to turn to so please help. Here goes: translating gives me gas. It all started this year when I entered the faculty. The first time we were given homework, I was very excited but the moment I sat down and opened the dictionary, I felt a powerful movement deep down inside. I thought nothing of it but as my translation progressed, I felt as though I could contain it no longer. I had to let go. I tell you, dear Linguini, we had to air the room for a week. And every time I sit down to do a translation, the same thing happens. I am reduced to working on the toilet. My roommates want me out and I am petrified of the final exams. Your desperate Art F.

Dear F. Art,

What you described is a typical case of transflatulence, a disease originating in Romania but not uncommon among professional translators and teaching staff at your department. It has been scientifically proven that increased activity in the interlanguage parts of your brain sends out signals to the so-called fart neurons (neurologists call them “stinky buggers”). It is also a little known fact that St Jerome did not move to a cave in the Holy Land because of his desire to study in isolation but because the plague of 374 AD was actually his doing. A small people in the West Indies also have a proverb that loosely translates as:

Translating is the forbidden fruit,
The more you do it, the more you toot.

My advice? Let ‘em rip in front of as many professors as possible. And if you’re as good as you say you are, the European Commission is sure to sniff you out eventually.

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