Eurodan in English

May 29, 2003

Two exams tomorrow (Friday) - Polish in the morning and translation from German into English in the afternoon.

The one thing I fear the most is the plasterboard dividers in my brain which separate one language from another finally failing, and all the languages mixing together in one big linguistic porridge.

Occasionally I see alarming signs of it - Swedish and Dutch sometimes seem to have alarmingly interchangeable words, for example... I hope it's not the beginning of a worrying trend!

Posted by Eurodan at 10:42 PM | Comments (5)

May 28, 2003

Yes! It's here! In accordance with popular demand (i.e. one person asked for it), I'm proud to present the call for your entries in the Best New Television Programme Idea Competition.

The prize is... well, nothing really. I'm not really a TV channel, unfortunately (indeed, more's the pity, sometimes!). But you do get the enduring respect of the many, many readers of the blog ;-)

Erato's idea was to take a current show and change the parameters a bit, which gave me the idea of Your Money or Your Life German Treasury special - Alvin Hall talks to German Finance Minister Hans Eichel and with his typical admonishing air and pointing finger, tries to find out ways to cut back his burgeoning debt. Watch Eichel's gripping video diary as he tries to keep to Hall's new draconian spending limits, including giving up those beloved opera subsidies...

Or how about French for Europhobes? Conrad Black is your guide, teaching you just enough French to be able to ask if you can pay in Pounds Sterling at your Gîte, complain that your steak isn't well done enough ("it's practically pink!") and insult the French President. First lesson: Nous ne lisons que The Daily Telegraph, vous le savez...

Posted by Eurodan at 10:50 AM | Comments (11)

May 25, 2003

If there's one thing that annoyed me this weekend, it was the claim from various quarters that "the UK got no points on Saturday night because of a post-Iraq backlash."

I really do think that we British should stop over-estimating our own importance. As if the "rest of Europe" cared about the UK so much, that they would all huddle together and orchestrate some kind of conspiracy to punish us for our behaviour.

The reality is that we entered an OK song into a TV show but sung it badly, and that Europe's TV viewers voted elsewhere. And anyway, pro-war countries like Poland and the Netherlands did OK.

It's just the sort of 'us and them' mentality which is the very worst aspect of living in the UK. I agree it doesn't really matter with the Eurovision, after all, it's only a bit of fun, but this kind of conspiracy theory mentality shows up everywhere, not least in our relationship with the EU - and every time I hear it a little light goes on inside my head and I realise I'm talking to someone with a very different view of Europe's culture from my own.

The idea behind it seems to be that Europeans are all the same, and either conniving conspirators out to foil the plucky, upstanding Brits, or too stupid or backward to understand that we and the rest of the English-speaking world know how to do things better.

Anyway. End of rant. (Feeling better now!)

Posted by Eurodan at 5:20 PM | Comments (17)

Well, what did I say about Belgium? I really wanted a contest in Belgium again next year. Ah well. Poor old Jemini - still, as Adam said, it is usual to sing in the same key as your backing track.

It seems, for once, my tips weren't so far out, with the exception of the winner, but you can't have everything!

Did everyone have an enjoyable evening, then?

Posted by Eurodan at 12:30 AM | Comments (2)

May 22, 2003

It's the Eurovision Song Contest this Saturday. I'm sure you're all having trouble sleeping with the excitement of it - I know I am. But let's try to pace ourselves and not get too worked up in the hours that remain.

Now I know that you've all been waiting for my tips before rushing off to the betting shops, but I have to warn you that ever since televoting started I haven't even come *close* to picking a winner.

And so this year I've decided just to tell you which songs I like and have done with it. Much simpler. I'm sure they'll all do terribly, but I like them. If you want to make up your own mind you can listen (and watch) the songs here or here or even here so there's really no excuse.

So what do I like? Well, not really that many of them, actually. It's all or nothing this year - I either love em or hate em. But here are my faves in ascending order of wonderfulness (and you can click on the country names and watch the videos too - thanks to our colleagues over at Finnish Television):

Spain 1 point Derivative but catchy - next!
Poland 2 points In Polish, and I'm learning that...
Greece 3 points Now *there's* a voice!
Latvia 4 points just who fancies who in this video? And what's the Latvian for ménage à trois (points)?
Russia 5 points It's Tatu, but it's not *that* good...
UK 6 points Or am I not allowed to vote for the UK?
Norway 7 points And *note* the absence of a point for Sweden. I'm a sucker for a romantic song sometimes. And it has *nothing* to do with it being sung by a blond Norwegian!
Belgium 8 points I love this. And in case you're wondering, it's in a made-up language. I'm starting the blog in it next week.
Netherlands 10 points OK, it's a bit formulaic, but it has a tremendous vivacity. And it's Dutch.
Iceland 12 points Call me a predictable Scandophile, but I love this. So uplifting.

And that completes the votes of the Eurodan jury. Goodnight, Riga.

Posted by Eurodan at 9:24 PM | Comments (4)

I hope you won't mind me sharing this with you - but I had a dream the other day about one of our lecturers. No, not *that* sort of a dream! Honestly! We were all sitting in class telling this lecturer that we were about to produce a student production of Hamlet. (We're not by the way - God knows where that came from).

Anyway, after asking us whether we had chosen to interpret the roles vertically or horizontally (no, I've no idea either), he then went on to say the following, priceless line:

"Well, of course, *many* people just want to be in Hamlet for the songs."

At which point, I woke up laughing, which I don't think I've ever done before.

So, any suggestions for Hamlet, the Musical? It could be a big hit... Is that Ophelia over there, singing "I know him so well?"

Posted by Eurodan at 12:25 AM | Comments (14)

May 21, 2003

I wonder what heaven will be like if it's run by the British? I was talking about this with a friend the other day, and I do hope it's not.

It would be very marketing-led if it were; all customer satisfaction feedback forms ("Your stay in Heaven is important to us - please help us to improve by filling in this form: Cleanliness of pearly gates - very good, good, average, poor..."). And there'd be artwork sponsored by Sainsbury's and something well-intentioned by the Millennium Commission.

All in all, enough to make you want the other place!

But then again, what about if it were run by the Germans? Imagine the forms you'd have to fill out to get into the place!

If you have a candidate country who you think should be awarded the franchise, let me know...

Posted by Eurodan at 9:52 AM | Comments (10)

May 20, 2003

The exams have started this morning, and my first assignment is to translate a lovely little piece all about the insects which colonise corpses. This kind of thing. Which is nice. I wouldn't mind, but I hadn't had breakfast when I picked it up!

Still, it just goes to show what a magical mystery tour the life of a translator is. You learn some fascinating things - seemingly at random.

Posted by Eurodan at 11:20 AM | Comments (0)

May 19, 2003

Hello there!

And a very warm welcome to my online diary (or blog - which, frankly, isn't a very attractive word, now is it?)

I told my sister that I was starting one of these, and her reaction was "does that mean you're going to stop calling, and I'll have to read your news on a blasted round-robin letter on the internet?"

Hmm... good point. But I endeavour not to become any more of a recluse than I currently seem to be. That's just exams - honest! The idea of the blog is to *increase* the amount I communicate with everyone, not decrease it. Think of it like an online diary, which you get to read, and comment on.

While we're on that subject, I'd be delighted to read your congratulatory remarks on my blog's maiden voyage. And while you're at it, why not wish me luck in my exams? Thanks - you're so lovely. I really don't deserve you!

Oh yes, and by the way - the foreign language blogs are on the way - it's going to be what the marketing department would call a "phased roll-out"...

Posted by Eurodan at 9:25 PM | Comments (8)

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