Lost in Translation – Part 1
Opening Night for our December theatrical performance was drawing near and we were in the early stages of the technical rehearsal. We were in the process of fine-tuning the sound cues and we had two students on the sound board. One was a grade 12 student who was well familiar with how long and drawn out the day was going to be. The other student was relatively new to the school. He was from Asia, and English was not his first language. Ji-hu also happened to in my homeroom class. He would be in my top-10 list of all-time for students who were polite, respectful, cooperative and keen.
We were going through each cue in order, and the director was deciding exactly what he wanted. It was my job to interpret his wishes for the guys on the board which was located at the back of the theatre. Some changes were called back from the middle of the theatre. In this instance I walked back to be nearer the two students.
“OK, fellows, for cue 7 bring the volume up 10% and for a total time of 8 seconds. Start the fade after 2 seconds.”
“OK. Shay’s-us”, said Ji-hu.
I looked at him, uncertain what it was he had said, but it sounded more like an acknowledgement than a question. I carried on.
A short while after I said to the guys, “For sound cue 8 let’s trying shortening it by 2 seconds and see how that works.”
The change was made and the director listened. He decided he wanted something different.
“Let’s try taking off another 2 seconds but bring the volume up about 5%.”
The director listened then made another decision. I walked back to the board, “Guys, let’s go with that but leave the volume as it was.”
“OK. Shay’s-us”, said Ji-hu. He then made the change under the watchful eye of the other student.
I looked at him. “Ji-hu, did you just say Jesus?”
In a heavy accent he replied, “Yes. It’s what you say when you make a change.”
It took me a moment to figure out what was going on. Each time the director changed his mind and the cue needed to be reprogrammed, the grade 12 student would mutter, Jay-sus. Ji-hu thought that this was a working expression and an acknowledgement that the message was understood. Rather than say Roger, Wilco or Message Received he would nod and say Shay’s-us.
to be continued …………………………………
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