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English: A sleep diary.

First diary or second diary?

I much prefer translating to editing. Not only is it easier, it pays better. With translating I start with a blank page and all the words are my own. If the original document is confused or has awkward phrasing, I can smooth it all out in the English. Editing, however, is more like trying to straighten out a piece of paper that has been chewed by the dog. Some bits are missing altogether, other parts are blurred from the saliva, and overall it’s a crumpled mess.

That said, editing does have one feature that amuses me no end. Often, non-native speakers, when they’re looking for just the right word to explain their idea, will harness their powers of logical thought and make it up. I love this! It’s usually a word that is grammatically perfect, but just doesn’t exist. It should, but it doesn’t. The document I’m currently editing had just such a moment. I stopped for a little chuckle as I read for the first time about first diary and second diary – as in first diary and second diary characteristics  – of course!

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