Friday, July 30, 2010

The Spanish Editor, $50 per hour (Friday Fiction)

This week's Friday Fiction is hosted by the very talented Rick "Hoomi" @ his blog, Pod Tales and Ponderings. Click here to read and share more great fiction!

Author's Ramblings: This is one of my few "Spanglish" pieces that I've written in the past year. It was originally for the FW's Editor Challenge and I didn't have the chance to polish it up as I'd wanted to, so I've done some polishing today and I'm posting it. The italics at the end are the translations for the snippets of Spanish in between if you were curious to know. ^_^ Enjoy-and happy weekend! 


Purple-marker splotches decorated the coffee-stained sheet of notebook paper that taunted me. I took my time and smoothed it out, hoping the angry creases wouldn’t cause a headache later on. I shouldn’t have crumpled it, but I’d hoped to skip it today.

A hot bath, fuzzy bathrobe and hot cocoa sounded like an excellent way to end the stressful day and I wanted to enjoy every minute of my self-appointed pampering. I didn’t want to slave over another editing job for pocket money.

Pocket money I needed for a parking ticket I didn’t want.

The first line made me bite my lip as I forced my hands to line up at the keyboard for the hours of torture ahead. My brain would suffer more than the fingers, but together…the suffering was a singular experience.

El celio was muy azul.

I winced. That's a fantastic start. I don’t care what color the ceiling was…or the sky, for that matter. Why can’t the simple words translate easier?  The moment of self-pity passed and I tried to focus.

Ella wished por su novio traigo muchos flores. Cuando received las flores, ella decidió a voy al cine en la tarde por un película nuevo about mystery…

The story continued down the crumpled page, talking of a young couple and their adventures together. In my opinion, the girl was silly, mainly because guys don’t bring flowers when you’re on a movie date and she was all ballistic over the detail. I scribbled that observation in the notebook sheet—in English and Spanish. The client was welcome to interpret it themselves. My fingers moved slowly across the keys as my mind translated the mix of Spanish with the occasional English word thrown in.

It was painful to wrap my western-loving, teenaged brain around a fake love story and enjoyable for my cultural side to revel in a fairly decent piece of familiarity—the Spanish language. I paused to smooth the wrinkled page again.

The creases were definitely beginning to start a headache—one that I didn’t want to deal with.

La película was muy interesante because of los personas de Amdanburg. Los estudiantes de universidad de Amdanburg están muy hard-working y honest. En la familia de novia, la padre de ella was la policía por the city. La policía was muy busy y importante, porque de mysteries

By the time I’d reached the end of the crumpled sheet, I still couldn’t figure out the plot. There was something lost in translation and I had zero creativity left to puzzle through it. Any relief I felt for the simplicity of the English language vanished the moment I realized I’d have to edit my punctuation. I hadn’t been paying attention. It’d take longer than an hour for sure now.

Stupid commas.

And quotation marks.

Why can't this whole piece be prose? Or a poem? Something that isn't so taxing on a student brain!
I smoothed the paper out again and squinted to read the purple marker and faint pencil.

There were too many loops and swirls in this handwriting. That was enough for a second headache. I tried to pretend I couldn’t feel it coming on.

But the mixed sentences continued. I edited faster. It was only supposed to be one measly sheet of paper, how can so many words be crammed into such a small space?

Ella tiene un…y…pocketbook. Un dia…missing…lost…su novio…

Now the girl had a pocketbook, but lost it one day while waltzing about with her boyfriend. This story really doesn’t make any sense at all. While it was senseless, it was also expected and for that reason, my mind adjusted as my hands relaxed. The words flowed easily as I translated and typed. It had been over an hour since I’d started, but I was getting better. Perhaps this time around it was easier.

I finished late. The laptop’s cooling fan was too loud in such a tiny bedroom, an annoying sound spurring me forward to the finish. The house was quiet.

I hurried through the remaining paragraph, clicking on the spellchecker when finished. It took another minute for proper formatting and the grammarcheck, followed by choosing a plain text to complete the work.

The finished, printed result was definitely a manifestation of hard work…and a great deal of my precious pride. With a pink paperclip stuck on one corner, I trooped out to the den and set the story on the glass coffee table, picking up the twenty-dollar bills under a plastic coaster.

It had been tiresome and embarrassing to finish, but it was done.

Yay for more pocket money!

I hesitated, feeling an ache in my head speaking to my heart. I crossed my toes and peeled two twenties off the little roll of cash. “Here.” I dropped it on top of the papers. “Your English is improving…so…that’s a discount. It wasn’t that…hard…to type out for you. The story wasn’t too bad this time either, you’re much better than before…just need to work on…plot.”

From the sofa’s shadow, her tired face came into the light and she thanked me with a smile that brought a blush. “Mi hija es muy-”

“Buenos noches, Mama.” I kissed her cheek and headed for bed.

Discount…at this rate, I’ll need additional clients…

© Sara Harricharan

Spanish Key: (First few letters of sentence/paragraph included, followed by translation)
El C#1= The sky was very blue.

Ella Wished #2 = The girl wished for her boyfriend to bring her many flowers. When he brought her the flowers, she decided to go with him to the theater so they could watch a mystery movie.

La Peli #3 = The movie was very interesting because of the people of Amdanburg. The Amdanburg college students were very honest and hard-working. In the girlfriend's family, her father was the police chief of the city and they were very busy because of recent mysteries.

Ella T #4 = The girl lost her pocketbook and then one day, her boyfriend.


Shellie Bailey said...

Entertaining and educational.:-)Great writing.

Laury said...

Oh how sweet! I had no clue it was for her Mama. Cute story:)

Yvonne said...

I was expecting a twist at the end, but it twisted a different direction that I thought... I have a crick in my neck! *smile*

Kristina Rohder said...

Aw, I loved this! I especially loved the twist at the end. Very sweet! :)

Bear said...

I too was expecting a different twist at the end, so was happily surprised.