Saturday, June 28, 2014

Google Translator

My wife is a teacher - a very good teacher by all accounts - and like all good teachers she has stories to tell. Just yesterday she came home from work and told the story of an 8th grade boy who had been caught cheating on a final exam. For whatever reason, this young man was allowed to use a computer to type his answers to the test questions, which covered the student's second year of foreign language - Spanish. Apparently, the he was very quick on the keys (or the proctors were oblivious to everything around them - a distinct possibility) as the student used Google Translator to devise an answer to nearly every question on the test. It wasn't until after the test that the cheating was discovered, and the boy was called to task.

As my wife told the story, my mind wandered off - as it is prone to do during the unabridged versions of my wife's stories - to the water and all things piscatorial. I thought about brown trout on the Delaware and carp on the Hudson, bass on Ballston Lake and bowfin on Champlain. In one instant, I was on the oars of my buddy's low-side Clack, and in the next moment I was casting to lily pads from the bow of a Coleman canoe. Before long, I was at the confluence of my wife's story and my own rambling stream of consciousness, and I found myself wondering if Google Translator might not help us bug chuckers better communicate with the rest of the world.

So ... what if? What if Google Translator made possible the translation of Bug Chucker to standard English?

Common Bug Chucker: "The wind is brutal today."

Standard English: "Listen, I am paying you $400.00 - FOUR HUNDRED DOLLARS - to row me down this ditch of a river and set me up on fish. How about you take one last drag off that Camel non-filter and move this friggin' boat just a little bit closer to shore. I obviously haven't the zip on my double haul that you expect me to have. If I was Steve Mother-F@%king Rajeff, I wouldn't have hired you in the first place."

Common Bug Chucker: "Fish on!"

Standard English: "Look at me! Look at me! I hooked a fish! Get the camera! Get the net! Get the camera and the net, but be careful with my camera. It's not waterproof, and still has pictures of the kids' birthday party on it. If that camera gets wet and I lose those pictures my wife will divorce me before she murders me. They'll never find my body. Look at me! Look at me! I hooked a fish! Get the camera! Get the net!

Common Bug Chucker: "My rod broke."

Standard English: "As a consequence of my own careless neglect and/or inability to cast in such a way as to prevent the collision of 2.5 troy ounces of lead with the carbon fiber blank of my (insert brand name and brief description of fly rod),  I  (insert owner's full name to include middle initial)  have broken my fly rod. I hereby absolve the manufacturer of any culpability, which might otherwise be associated with the destruction of said rod. Furthermore, I pledge not to harangue - with an equally fantastic and false narrative of the rod's final moments - the minimum-wage fly shop employee who will assist me in the repair and/or replacement of my fully warrantied (insert brand name and brief description of fly rod).

Common Bug Chucker: "It's good just to be out."

Standard English: "F@%k fly fishing! I spend ... what ... somewhere in the neighborhood of $3000.00 on flies and gear, plus another $200.00 on a hotel and gas, and all I have to show for my investment is this f@%king sunburn and a couple dozen mosquito bites. F@%k these fish! Tomorrow, I go at 'em with dynamite and bleach." 

*** NOTE: In Steelheader Parlance (a dialect of Common Bug Chucker endemic to the Pacific Northwest and Great Lakes regions) the above quote translates quite differently. "It's good just to be out" simply means, "I need a beer."

Common Bug Chucker: "While you're getting rigged up, I'm gonna' run down and check out the water."

Standard English: "You are a better fisherman than I am. As a matter of fact, you are a much better fisherman than I am. If you get to the water before I do - or even at the same time - there is no way I will catch the fish we both know calls this run home. So ... in order to give myself a fighting chance, I have arrived riverside with my rod already strung. While you looked off the bridge, I hid your rod tube under the van's bench seat and your wader belt in the center console. The time it takes you to arrange your gear should be all the time I need to get half a dozen drifts over that brown trout. Hopefully, six drifts will be all I need."

Common Bug Chucker: "Nice fish. Where'd ya' get him?"

Standard English: "They've not yet developed the metric by which we might measure my laziness. I have neither the time nor the desire to trudge through the mountains looking for water that holds fish like the one in your photograph. Instead, I'll ply you with the expensive IPA of your choice and several Slams from the Denny's breakfast menu in an attempt to beguile you and loosen your tongue. Once you've told me where you caught that fish, I will post GPS coordinates on the internet. In the process, I will completely destroy your faith in humanity."

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