Taking a cue from Mox’s agony with his translation memory (TM), Newell’s essay lambasts most commercial TM tools, saying that “giving a translator a translation memory tool is like giving an artist a robotic arm: this makes it much easier to record how the artist produced the work, but the work itself is stilted, artificial and slow.” The book is, above all, a look into the worst (both real and not so real, as Lossner points out) of freelance translation. As such, those higher up on the translation food chain may find it to be an insightful window into the fears and frustrations of those lowest on the chain. The comic strip’s characters are archetypes to the point of being clichés, but archetypes have their value. Especially in a comic strip, with its limited amount of space in which to tell a story or get a point across.
Linguists and grammarians of every kind may also enjoy Mox. “I mentally correct everything I hear and read,” Mox notes. “I would happily spend a Saturday morning attending a talk on Romanian verb tenses in the Middle Ages.” As someone who once snuck into a lecture on Medieval French on a Saturday morning, this made me laugh.
Localization evangelicals, on their part, may find some wit to illustrate the need for localization, as in the bottommost strip on the right. Calvo, the translator in question, is obviously not paid to rebrand an unfortunately named product. That’s someone else’s job, and it’s going to be very expensive to correct if the freelance translator is the one to alert the company.