August 30, 2011

A very young version of Doogie Howser MD

When our kids are ill, we need to see a child's doctor, a children's doctor, a doctor for children or even a paediatrician, who is specialised in the 'branch of medicine that deals with the medical care of infants, children, and adolescents.'

A report that reached the desk the other day had the phrase 'child doctor' instead, a literal translation of the word paediatrician, derived from Greek pais, child, and iatros, doctor or healer, of course the writer was not proficient in Greek, and he had resorted to a direct translation of the Bengali phrase that colloquially, perhaps informally too, relates to paediatrician, shishu daktar.

July 18, 2011

To put one's gun on someone else's shoulder and fire

It is not a good idea to rest the gun on someone's shoulder when it is fired. This hunting warning which could mean that it is not safe for neither the hunter nor the shoulder volunteer as it could lead to an accident and the shoulder might not be firm enough to sustain the pressure of the explosion is used in Bengali as a phrase, parer ghare banduk rekhe daga (to fire resting the gun on someone's shoulder), or anyer ghare banduk rekhe shikar kara (to rest the gun on someone's shoulder and fire for hunting), to mean that someone is passing the blame for an action onto another. The meaning of the phrase in Bengali, when read in the context of hunting, could also mean to do something that could be disastrous. Reporters walking beats of politics often get tempted to translate the phrase, literally, to put editors in trouble especially when they are also tempted by their love for the Bengali language.