We find ourselves in Hristo Dimov’s small one bedroom apartment in Sofia, Bulgaria. It is morning and Hristo is fumbling with the coffeemaker. In his boxers and Metallica T-shirt, he manages to get the coffeemaker on the stove without spilling too much. He lumbers back to the table and flips his laptop open. The whir of the hard drive makes a disconcerting sound and the screen gently warms to its full glow, barely visible next to the light coming in through the window. Next to his computer is yesterday’s breakfast plate and a Bart Simpson “Don’t have a cow, man.” coffee mug on top of a bright yellow legal pad. A thirsty looking plant next to the window is yearning for attention; there are a few crispy leaves and some soil on the table underneath the plant. After about two minutes of the usual computer start-up flashes and noises, he opens up his navigator with many tabs, two newspapers–one in English, the other in Bulgarian–, Facebook, Translators’ Café, and his email. Hristo clicks away at his unreads and discovers an email from Qualitrans that got shuffled into his spam.
HRISTO: (inner voice)
Thanks for your interest in working with Qualitrans. Please find a short translation test attached. We would like to work with you on an upcoming project but we want to make sure that the subject matter will be acceptable. Also, please sign and return the attached NDA and Contract. Please return the translation test in no later than two days time. Thank you and feel free to contact me with any questions.
HRISTO: (to himself in a thick Bulgarian accent) Nice! First American client! First….client! What’s this test?
The coffeemaker starts to gurgle and Hristo nimbly skips to the stove now excited about the prospect of the project. He grabs the mildly toasted toast from the toaster and crudely spreads jam on it with a spoon. The same spoon now in his mouth, he pours milk and then coffee into the mug from yesterday and then stirs the concoction with the spoon. He sits down and puts his bare left foot on the seat of the chair with his knee bent. Reading some emails and Facebook updates he takes a sip of coffee without taking his gaze off the screen. He eats his toast in the same way; his left arm resting on his left knee and the toast held firmly by a corner that was not covered in jam. His right hand is deftly directing the mouse from tab to tab, scrolling up and down, right click-close, double click, right click-open link in new tab.
After finishing breakfast, he brushes some crumbs from his mouth. Some fall onto the plate as intended, some make their way into his half-drank coffee and some fly over to the keyboard and nestle between the keys. Upset, Hristo tries in vain to blow the newly fallen crumbs out. While he does manage to dislodge one of the bigger crumbs, the rest stay put and the R and G keys are now adorned with bits of spittle that he will not discover until he starts typing his response.
Hristo: (speaking to himself while typing, typing sounds and email projected above him in real time)
Thank you for email. I will look at text and return you it soon. When will I know if translation is suitable? I look forward to working with you. I will send you back every thing soon.
Hristo downloads the attached documents: the translation test, the two-page NDA and the six-page contract. He starts to read the NDA but quickly loses interest and goes to the test. He finds it is 423 words, two paragraphs that seemingly appeared on the page from nowhere. He understands the text but has no idea exactly what the paragraphs are referring to. Confused he reopens his emails, rereads the message from Linda and responds again.
HRISTO: (speaking to himself while typing, typing sounds and email projected above him in real time)
Me again. The test is confusing. I see that is about quantum software but has no context. Can you give more details?
Satisfied with the morning so far, Hristo takes his mug and finishes the rest of the coffee. He takes the two plates and the mug to the sink, he fills the mug with tap water and brings it to the table. Slowly watering the plant, he picks up the dead crispy leaves from the table shaking his head. He sets the mug there on the table, leaves inside, and retreats to his room. (Exits stage, room not part of set) comes back fully dressed with cap on and leaves out front door walking his bicycle that has a big black metal basket.
Click here to go to Part IV——->