By Mark Taylor
Let’s not deny it, translation is a repetitive business. In the constant flow of projects, client demands and looming deadlines, a translator can easily get caught up in a sort of bubble where translations exist only as a project number. Not always though! There are times when the bubble bursts and your work follows you home – in a good way!
Thanks to a translation that I did on the Montréal metro’s train traction system, I now have intimate knowledge of its components, especially its chopper, or more precisely, the chopper’s electronic switches, called thyristors. Bear with me on the technical side here. It’s these thyristors inside the choppers that cause them to emit a little three-note “doo-doo-doo” melody as the train starts moving. This sound is best heard on the platform when an older model train leaves the station. It’s a little harder to hear the choppers at work from inside the train, but passengers can still hear the sound they make loud and clear. That’s because the tune became so synonymous with the trains, it was reproduced as the door closing signal, and it has even been included on the new trains.
So, whether you’re going to or from work on the metro, you’ll hear this tune. It may be only three notes, but it’s a small tune that has a story of its own and ranks among the most well-known in Montreal.