And the award for the most times the word Moroccan can be used in a sentence goes to

Another way of filling time on planes, of course, is to read the handy inflight magazine. Luckily, the magazine on the flight to and around Morocco (it was Royal Air, to the Moroccan reader who asked. I have a Moroccan reader! Who knew?!) was the size and consistency of a breezeblock. Of course, it was mainly like that because of complex three-language reasons.

The whole rear half of the magazine – or ‘front’ to non-Arabic readers, I suppose – was in Arabic. The whole front section – or rear, to other people, I think– was half in French, half in English. French mainly on the top of the page or the left, English bottom or right. I’m not complaining – I recoginise my language was at least the third in pecking order, and I’m glad to be entertained at all, thank you.

However. It does lead to a whole lot of secondary/thirdendary-translation issues that make the whole journey lots more fun. [NB: Not that translation is an easy job or one that deserves mockery but, you know, ass-covering etc etc]

There was a page of advertorial about a film-maker’s guide to Morocco. The entire top-half was in French, which I amused myself by picking through, slowly, in my rusty bad-graded-GCSE kind of French. Then I read it in English, and I got confused, because the English version said the same thing, but slightly clumsily. And more extensively. MUCH more extensively.

Toward the end of the book review (in both languages)(and proabably in Arabic too, though I honestly wouldnt know), the following appeared

This guide intends to be as exhaustive as possible but it is obliged to be selective as it is limited to 400 pages – quite large enough already. Appendices include the law pursuant to the cinema industry, wage grids, indices, a lexicon, and a filmography

And that was the section with which where the French version had ended. Due to, I suppose, their flowery language as opposed to the English ability to be beautifully concise about everything (see five and a half years worth of archives, right, for disproof of this theory). So, it seemed, the translator had carried on in the same thread, for padding.

With everything you need not to waste time, and to stay focussed, well advised and hopefully successful in your choice of job or prospect…

Which was a well thought out and nicely considered piece of padding. But there was stll a few lines of space left to fill on the page. So more padding had been added, seemingly in a state of panic.

The guide lists all Moroccans operating in Morocco as well as Moroccans residing abroad, in addition to a large section devoted to individuals frequently travelling to Morocco or working with Moroccans.

Blimey. When they said ‘as exhaustive as possible, they weren’t fucking about, were they?


And someone wanted other ways of filling time on planes when you have the attention span of a gnat (and I do, I really, really do) so I’ve been trying to think of them. Well, trying to think of them inbetween getting distracted by shiny things.

And I was thinking of the sheer volume of terrible films one can watch, guilt-free. Then there’s playing ‘guess the attempted foodstuff’, every time you’re presented with a tray of foil-covered goo. And annoying flight stewards is another way of passing the time, of course, but that probably deserves its own, separate post…

Ooooh! Something shiny! Is it Moroccan?