“Brilliant!”, I thought, when a client told me I’d been chosen to translate the Laws of cricket into French. I love the game, and translating a document dealing with a subject that I care about doubles the fun I have.
In the end, it wasn’t much fun. It was fascinating, difficult, frustrating, and eventually rewarding, but really not fun. I’ve just sent the translation, and after three weeks of constant research, hair-pulling and decision-making, I can’t wait to move on to simpler sports: watching France crush England at rugby will be such sweet relief. I’ll write a post about all the challenges that were presented by this type of translation, but for now, I need to forget about cricket.
In the course of the translation, I found out the origin of umpire, which I didn’t know:
c.1400, noumper, from O.Fr. nonper “odd number, not even,” in reference to a third person to arbitrate between two, from non not + per “equal,” from L. par. Initial -n- lost by mid-15c. due to faulty separation of “a noumpere”, heard as “an oumpere”.
Originally legal, the gaming sense first recorded 1714 (in wrestling). The verb is first recorded c.1600, from the noun.