Surprisingly Challenging Word (SCW) of the Day: Vibrant

At the day job, I am currently juggling multiple projects. One of my assigned projects entailed doing some research to verify that “Chilean nitrate” is indeed the same thing as “nitrato chileno“.

At another point, I was asked to translate a sentence that read something like this*:

It leads to more vibrant plant life.

It probably should have been “It leads to a more vibrant plant life.”, but nobody has asked me to correct the English version. More to the point, what did the original writer mean with “a vibrant plant life”? I tried at first to translate it as vida vegetal vibrante, but that sounded off. I had to resort to consulting my trusted dictionary and ended up translating it as “vital”.

My translation work is full of situations like this: words that appear to be simple, but that require a little research to translate. The Surprisingly Challenging Word of the Day.

Sometimes, a quick peek at the dictionary is enough. Other times, I must visit to find out if anybody has thought to include the offending term in his/her glossary. If that doesn’t work, I do a search on Google or Yahoo! The point is not the hard work involved. The point is that this happens with common words. We are not talking about the more specialized terms such as maracuyá (passion fruit) or “windrows” (I usually translate this as siembra en hileras). We are talking about “e.g.” or “i.e.”. I had trouble retaining those in my mind, so I had to flag the corresponding pages in my dictionary.

Disclaimer: I am working from memory here. While I did not make up the original sentence, it is entirely possible I am quoting it wrong.


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