Thursday, 3 July 2008

Dear Sibyl: The Translationese

The Translationese, Sibyl, greetings.

Your column having been revived, it seemed good to us, at any rate, being the envoys of the Translationese, to write an epistle to make you yet more certain of the matters which are for a manifold concern to us. The which letter we now write to you in order that we may receive your succour.

You see, in truth, the queen having been consolidated in the ditch with her leman, the beasts of burden duly tethered, we, being on the point of fording the rivlet, knew that our enemies - the Haploglots (as the Grecians call them - which, being translated, means 'those who speak simply') - were planning a surprise attack. The ambuscade having been sprung by them, we were worsted. Although we sought to sue for terms, yet we could not inform our enemies in a tongue understanded of the peoples. Our language is for an impediment to us. O, Sibyl, we beseech thee that you may consult our welfare.

Sibyl, The Translationese, greetings.

At times like this I think we need a state with a logical, unambiguous, business-like language to get themselves involved in these local disputes and, out of their immense generosity and clemency, to impose peace... and a lucrative taxation system, of course. Now, where could we find such a people... ?

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