Translation is Only Part of the Job

the drunken cyclist

The years that I spent as a bicycle tour guide in Europe were shrouded in a singular paradox: I have a terrible sense of direction. Really awful. Fortunately, the company I worked for was set-up so that I was not actually a “guide” as such, but more of a “coordinator.” That distinction, although subtle, was significant in that the clients would head out on their own with written directions leading them to the next location. My job was to follow the group in order to insure that everyone arrived at the next hotel.

The concept was fairly simple—if a client had some sort of problem (e.g., a mechanical issue with the bike) and was somewhere on the route, I would eventually come along and get him or her rolling again. Since that rarely happened, I spent most of my time riding alone, which was perfectly fine with me. I had no…

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