The Inferno Experience: bovum ductor!

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One of the highlights of my year was translating this travel guide to Dan Brown’s Florence. It took quite a bit of time, the deadlines were tight, but the thing I loved most was that I had to be on my toes all the time! I had to look up parts of poetry, puzzle about Dante, do some research. I’d read some of Dante’s Inferno at university so it was extra fun, especially when I came across ‘boum ductor’. There’s a part in the book about some sort of Italian cowboys, ‘boum ductors’, who lead cattle through a rough bit of Italian countryside known as Maremma. “‘Boum ductors’? That can’t possibly be Latin…” I thought. And then it hit me: in Latin bos means cow. Bovum would be the genetive plural. Bovum ductor! Leader of cows! Never thought I’d be able to put my high school Latin to such good use… This is exactly what makes my life as a writer&translator so versatile: I seriously learn something new with every project I take on. And I get to use a lot of the skills that some people might say are useless, such as learning Latin in school. It’s yay to be me.

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