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Monday, October 02, 2017

Translation And Info: Who'd Have Thought?

Re-posted from my Dreamwidth blog...

I need a passport for ID. Getting a passport is harder than it used to be, much harder. You need a passport for proof of ID, right? But some of the items you need for your passport, you almost might as well use for your ID anyway, unless you want to go overseas. My birth certificate is in Hebrew. The last time I used it was when I went to do my compulsory jury duty. I showed it to the lady on the desk and she just laughed and let me through. Well, it wasn't me who had demanded to do jury duty, was it? I figured if they objected to being unable to read the certificate, that was their problem, not mine.
Anyway, you have to get your overseas birth certificate translated for passport ID, and it has to be done by one of their approved translators. So, I found a lady, one of two in Victoria, who fortunately lives within easy tram distance of my place and I am on term break. I contacted her and she said that I could scan and send, or I was welcome to come to her place today. I decided on that. I don't have a scanner any more and although I could take a photo, I wasn't sure it would turn out readable. It's a very old, crumpled document - well, as old as me, anyway. ;-) 
Off I trundled on the tram to a small street off Hawthorn Rd, South Caulfield, and found it easily. The lady was quite a character, as it turned out. She was very thorough, but also had a lot of fun Googling things to make sure they were right. For example, the hospital where I was born was called the Municipal Maternity Hospital at the time. It is currently known as the Rabin Centre - we agreed it might be best to simply use the term on the actual certificate, but she had a lot of fun satisfying her curiosity. Likewise with the Hebrew DOB. According to Google, the year I was born the Hebrew date was August 29! And here I was finding it amusing that the certificate says September 3, when it's September 4. "August 29!" she exclaimed. "Forget about that!" But we agreed there had been a stuff-up. 
And then there was the doctor who delivered me. It was a Dr Kattab? Katib? Qatab? Katab? (That was how it was spelled in Hebrew, which I don't think does double letters). Anyway, he/she was an Arab, a Muslim. Which makes sense, because it was a Friday night, when the Jewish staff were going home or to synagogue for the Sabbath, while Muslim staff had finished theirs and were able to do a shift. But it hadn't occurred to me. So, now I know, and it will be fun to tell any Muslim kids at school who might ask that I was delivered by a co-religionist of theirs. I think they'll be tickled. 
But Taly(translator) and I did a bit of Googling to check spelling and while there were many possibilities, we decided on Khattab, the name of an Aussie Muslim doctor we found on line. It was closest to the original. 
I told Taly that my sister, who was about five at the time, had to be left behind when Mum hitched a ride to hospital on a bakery van. She said, "Oh, that happened all the time back then. It happened to me. Nowadays they'd call it child abuse." She grinned. But there were neighbours and Dad came along soon enough and also had to hitchhike, because it was Friday night, no public transport. 
Anyway, I felt Taly was well and truly worth the small fee I was paying, and more if she had asked for it. She had a series of templates to use - " Here's one I prepared earlier..." But all the research and careful thought about her translations was quite a bit of work. And afterwards she printed out - we proofread and I found one inconsistent spelling - and then printed out again, two copies, plus a photocopy of my original, which she suggested I take to the PO and get certified. And she emailed me a PDF for my files which, however, had her stamp and signature on it. So it will be safe, even if I mislay the original. 
And then, all done, she enthusiastically showed me a website called,"On The House" which gives away free tickets to shows, as long as you don't mind what they are. She had grabbed a free double pass to two shows while my translation was printing out. 
Who would have thought such a humdrum, necessary activity would turn out to be so entertaining?


miki said...

i'm glad you found her and she was so great
admistrative stuff can be very complicated i had to proof i was alive when they declared me dead instead of my mother ( how it happened i stilld on't understand) but showing in person with id isn't enough^^;; wshat an adventure but without a fun ending like yours ( but at least i'm alive for administration

Sue Bursztynski said...

Goodness, that is strange! Sad, too, because it was bad enough losing your Mum without having to go through that. And, you know, when my father passed away a few years ago, administrators made our lives miserable. I wanted to keep his phone account going and they told me I had to send a copy of his death certificate. And Mum had fun and games accessing the joint account and my brother had to get in a lawyer to threaten the bank. It cost a lot of money, but the bank caved in. The woman who had been making Mum's life miserable said to her, "You didn't have to do that, we just wanted to be helpful...."

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Sue - how interesting ... wonderful you found a local translator ... who had a sense of humour and was interesting - lovely story - thanks ... cheers Hilary

Sue Bursztynski said...

Hi Hilary - well, I had a choice of only two, and she was the closest. Fortunately, she was fun!

Satima Flavell said...

OMG, Sue, the whole birth cert thing is a nightmare. What a great thing that translator did for you in transliterating and translating the Hebrew to Roman!

Sue Bursztynski said...

Yes, she was very good - and a lot of fun!