the 90th minute

Until September 2007, when my oldest daughter was born, this blog covered daily life and politics in Israel, as well as Hebrew-English linguistic issues, from the perspective of an American-raised journalist and translator living in Israel. Now it mostly serves as the SmunchMonk&Bear news agency, a portal into the bizarre universe of the little people. Read more at: www.shoshanakordova.com.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Catching the wrong fish


Herewith, a note of caution: Just when you've been thinking about the rather ridiculous necessity of reading Hebrew in English, along comes a Hebrew word practically screaming to be read in English. But – what the hell? – it turns out the Israeli writer was actually speaking the language of the Hebrewman!

I was translating a news brief about the Australian movie "Jindabyne," which is going to be playing in Israel as part of an Australian film festival here over the summer.

The reporter wrote that the film was about four men who find a dead body during a מסע דיג (without vowels, the second word would read something like DYG). The phrase should, of course, be read as "masa dayig," meaning "fishing trip" – but at first glance, what jumped out at me was the English word "dig" (or "deeeg," in Israeli). In those first few seconds, I imagined four college-age guys spending their summer on an archeological dig looking for old coins – but turning up a much more (cue scary voice) sinister find. I mean come on, that could totally be a movie! It all made perfect sense.

Fortunately, though, I got a good grip on the rod of reality and realized my mistake before I fell for that old decoy trick – hook, line and sinker.

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