Thursday, December 23, 2010


(A Tale for the Holiday Season)
By Isidro Ludwig Burt Rand

Once upon a time (actually it was only three years ago), a very nice, kind and gentle woman who happened also to be translator, a writer and a poetess, wrote a piece about the impending demise of a certain species of human translators, a demise wrought by the advent and growth of a machine species formally called robotic translation, but more commonly known by its nickname PussyCAT.

This very nice, kind and gentle woman (whom we shall call Ms. Cognac), sent her article to an organization of translators of which she had been a most loyal, most non-controversial and most un-revolutionary member for many, many years.  Her article was received by one of the organization’s minor clerks, a young fellow named Mr. Mannerless, who informed the very nice, kind and gentle Ms. Cognac that her article was not worthy of publication in the organization’s monthly organ – a most professional journal – but that it could be published as a “letter-to-the-editor” if it could be reduced to about 200 or 300 words at the most.

Ms. Cognac did not readily understand the reasons for this rejection or reduction, but being the very nice, kind and gentle woman she was (and still is), she saw little reason to make waves, even small waves.  However, she did relate the incident to a certain Mr. Beast (sometimes known as Mr. Unprofessional and sometimes known as the Duke of Darkness or other times known as Mr. Vulgaritie). 

Mr. Beast inquired of the organization precisely why Ms. Cognac’s article had been given such treatment, particularly by the minor clerk Mannerless.  Suddenly, the wind changed direction and Ms. Cognac was informed that her article would be sent to a so-called Review Committee for guess what?  Review, of course.

The Review Committee was composed of one person, a fellow named Mr. Geek, who was the organization’s Supreme Grand Guru of All Matters Technological.  This struck both Mr. Beast and Ms. Cognac as quite strange since Ms. Cognac’s article had absolutely nothing to do with matters technological, except of course the future effect of matters technological on the species known as human translator.

Anyway, Mr. Geek gave the article to his wife for due perusal and equally due review.  Mrs. Geek liked the article very much (at least that is what Mr. Geek told Mr. Beast), and since Mrs. Geek liked the article, Mr. Geek decided to read it himself and he sort of liked it too.  Being the fair man that he was (and perhaps still is), he affixed his imprimatur of approval upon Ms. Cognac’s article.  And in relating all of these events to Mr. Beast, he (Mr. Geek) said to him (Mr. Beast) something most revealing, to wit:

“Ms. Cognac is a translator of another time”

There was no mistaking in Mr. Beast’s mind as to the meaning of that phrase:  To Mr. Geek (and all of his disciples), the time of translators like Ms. Cognac was over…finished…done…terminated…kaput!  This was the age of the robot and the PussyCAT (and Mr. Beast and Ms. Cognac and all other dinosaurs had better get with the program).

And so, with Mr. Geek’s imprimatur of approval, the article was returned to the organization for publication.  However, the minor clerk Mr. Mannerless refused to publish it (without further reasons given) and so informed Ms. Cognac, who in turn duly advised Mr. Beast.  While Ms. Cognac expressed the desire of having as little to do as possible with the organization, Mr. Beast’s flames of curiosity burned higher and hotter.

He thought about making some inquiries via electronic postal service of the organization’s president, a Mr. Cheery, but knew very well that Mr. Cheery never responded not just to mail, but to anything.  He therefore directed his curiosity and inquiries to the organization’s heir apparent, Czar Nicolai I, who it was known did on occasion respond to inquiries made of Him.

Czar Nicolai I did respond to Mr. Beast’s inquiry (noblesse oblige).  His Almost-Supreme Royal Highness informed the Duke of Darkness (Mr. Beast’s own aristocratic title) that the minor clerk Mr. Mannerless had absolute power and authority (and the blessings of the organization’s supreme rulers) to reject any article for publication that He (the minor clerk Mr. Mannerless) deemed worthy of rejection.  Thus Czar Nicolai I shut the door to any further inquiries, as well as any snooping and meddling.

But the curiosity of the Duke of Darkness knew no bounds and he called upon some of his spies and various and other traitor-like types within the realm, one of whom was a member of the royal court known as Count Oozy (as in the lyrics, “Oozing charm from every pore, he oiled his way around the floor”) or sometimes Sultan of Slime.

From this network of spies, informants and double-agent traitors, Mr. Beast learned that the organization and its royal rulers were petrified by what was contained in Ms. Cognac’s article.  In the neurotic and paranoid world of the organization’s royal court, the words scribed by this very nice, kind and gentle woman would truly upset the organization’s prime patron (called in the vulgate form of English “advertiser”) and/or any other potential patrons (or in the vulgate form of English “advertisers”) of the world of translation technology.  The fact of the matter was that the minor clerk Mr. Mannerless had been ordered by his superiors and rulers to affix the royal stamps and seals marked “Banned” and “Censored” to Ms. Cognac’s words.

“As time went on,
needless to say, along came another wind
and blew the PussyCAT away”.

The name given to this wind was “Google”. 

Wooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo went the “Google” wind like so:
“Google Translate Now Offers Alternate Versions for Each Word
“Google Translate is introducing a subtle but important new feature, the possibility to alter the translation on the fly and pick the best version from several options for each of the words translated. You can enter your own version if the ones listed aren't accurate. The feature also gives a glimpse at how the technology behind Google Translate works.

"’Sometimes translation can be pretty tough. Language is full of ambiguities and our system has to do its best to make the right choices. So why choose?,’ Josh Estelle, Senior Software Engineer at Google, writes.

“’We’ve launched a new feature to provide you with alternate translations for each phrase in the translated text. Just click the translated phrase and you’ll see a pop-up menu of possible alternates for that phrase, as well as the original phrase highlighted in your original text,’ he explains.

“Hover over any translated word and you will not only see the original word, or words, to which it relates, but also alternative translations. If you think something just doesn't sound right, you can click on the word for a drop-down list of other versions. You can also enter your own translation.

“This way, there is a great chance that one of the alternates makes a lot more sense in the context and you'll get a much better translation in the process. What's more, you'll also be helping Google do a better job next time.

"’Not only can these alternative translations give you a better understanding of a confusing translation, but they also allow you to help Google choose the best alternative when we make a mistake,’ Estelle explains.

“Google Translate uses a statistical machine translation system. Google's computers scours through vast
data sources and look for translations of words, phrases and so on.

“When it's translating something, the system looks through its vast data set and finds the version that is the most likely, based on sheer number. It's not a perfect system, as anyone who has used Translate will know, but the beauty of it is that it gets better in time.

“So any time you make a correction, your input is added and weight against the data already available. This way, little by little, Google Translate will become more accurate”.

So you see, my children, the key word here is “alternatives”, for that is precisely what occurs in the brain of the species known as human translator, and precisely what doesn’t occur in the brain of PussyCAT.  And if the Lords of Google find their holy grail, then the fate of the subjects and disciples of PussyCAT, including Lords Treydoss, Slow-of-Words and Been-There-Done-That will be in the hands of the gods (or St. Jerome, le cas échéant).  Yes, those subjects and disciples, also known as Mr. Geek’s "translators-of-now" could very well by the time of the holiday season of 2012  become the "translators-of-another-time".  The chickens have come home to roost.

PussyCAT.  c. 1998 – c. 2012.  R.I.P.”

Ho, Ho, Ho.  Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 20, 2010


Anger, or the absence thereof, is in the news a lot these days.  Supporters of both major political parties are angry (for different reasons, of course), and the general public is angry.  Oddly enough, much of this anger is directed at the man in the White House, who does not seem to be angry at all.  Speaking of President Obama in a recent New York Times article, Ishmael Reed said that it is “risky for a black man to express anger…he’d be dismissed as an angry black militant with a deep hatred of white people.”  Nonetheless one can only wonder what would have happened had he expressed even a teeny-tiny bit of wrath or outrage.

Shortly after I posted part 3 of Bernie Bierman’s article, I received emails from a couple of followers.  Both said that, while they agreed with Bernie, they felt that he was “too angry”.  While this seems to be a matter of degree (how angry is too angry?), it certainly raises some important questions.  For example, how do we as translators feel about ourselves and the work we do?  Are we happy about “selling words”, new words, repeated words, recycled words?  Should we not be angry that those who “purchase” these words are trying to tell us how much they will pay for them?  And, should we not be angry that many of our colleagues have been seduced by vendors of technology into acting counter to their own best interests? 

It seems to me that we should be very angry about what the rush to embrace translation memory tools and now machine translation has done to the translation profession.  We should be angry that this was done “with the blessing” of ATA and other translators’ associations.  We should also be fearful that the “real” translators (mentioned in a comment to part 2 of Bernie Bierman’s article) are becoming extinct. 

Not all that long ago, translation was regarded as a writing profession and translators were “ghost” writers of sorts.  They “transformed” a message in the source language into a message that could be readily understood by target-language readers.  They were communicators.  To do this well requires knowledge, skill, training and, yes, talent.  It goes beyond just matching words.  Translators needed a broad background of knowledge, an insatiable curiosity, and the general ability to learn new things.  A “real” translator crafted each document with care, constantly searched for le mot juste, and was unhappy if a heavy-handed editor made stylistic changes.  The author of the translation felt a sense of ownership. 

All of that changed drastically with the advent of CAT tools.  The new breed of “translators” (also known as CAT operators) no longer works with documents.  Instead they are working with segments that come from many different sources.  They are now doing what one of my colleagues calls “fill-in-the-blank” translation and are only being paid their full rates (if they are lucky and the client doesn’t set the rate) for the words in the blanks they fill in.  However, for CAT operators, this is not a real issue because the fact that they only have to fill in the blanks allows them to accept translation projects or assignments which, in the past would have been beyond their abilities. Because they are “recycling” so many words, they can sell more words for less.    

While this may not be a financial issue for CAT operators, it certainly gives rise to questions about translation quality. In Denver I overheard a couple of agency owners grousing about problems with translation memories because “translators” do not update them.  What in the world do they expect?  If CAT operators are being paid next to nothing for repetitions and so-called 100% matches, and only slightly more for so-called “fuzzy matches”, there is no incentive to check for accuracy and they move on.  In spite of the fact that some members of our community would like to equate the word “professional” with behavior, the truth of the matter is that the “professional”, unlike the amateur or dilettante expects (or should expect) to be paid for his/her expertise.       

Only a few short years ago, translators were making their own decisions about whether or not to use a CAT tool.  They made this choice based on the type of work they do.  All of that has changed because many agencies require that a job be done with Trados or some other CAT tool.  It goes without saying that the overall emphasis on technology has had a deleterious effect on the translation profession, and this goes beyond declining rates.  A steady diet of “fill in the blank” translation can affect the translator mentally as well as financially.   As Gabriel Fairman points out in the June 2010 issue of MultiLingual:

The most tacit [sic] and perhaps most important issue takes place at an emotional level when the translator’s feeling of authorship over the document gets impaired.  As a translator’s work is reduced to translating segments rather than documents, power and responsibility get dimmed as well.  The translator who inputs segments ascribes [sic] more clearly to a machine metaphor, while a translator who crafts a text corresponds more to an artistic metaphor.  The more clearly a translator, or any professional for that matter, has sight of the overall purpose and art of the work, of his or her ownership of everything that lies within a certain realm, the greater the chances of self-improvement and self-satisfaction.

In other words, if you don’t use it, you lose it.  As linguists are pushed (and they are indeed pushed) to embrace technology as a means of making a living, they focus more and more on the selling of words, new words, repeated words, and “fuzzily-matched” words .  The idea of the translator as someone who communicates a message is being replaced by a technician who “processes” words.  Many of these translators cum CAT operators now call themselves language engineers. 

Ah, but all those CAT operators should beware because things change quickly and CAT tools are quickly becoming retro.  The prediction is that in the not too far distant future, they will be replaced by SaaS (software as a service), translation “in the cloud” and, yes, machine translation.  Well, if we thought that CAT tools had a deleterious effect on human translation, the effect of machine translation will be infinitely worse because the decline in compensation will be even more pronounced as translators become post-editors of machine translation.  Language Service Providers (also known as translation agencies) that are pushing post-edited machine translation (PEMT) as a viable alternative to human translation are telling their prospective clients that they can save more than 50% of the cost of human translation.  Post-editors will be trained to work in two modes:  light (cleaning up grammar and spelling in the target language) or heavy (adding some elements of style where some knowledge of the source language will be required).  Translators will be asked to work on jobs with machine translation, multiple translation memories, and even “new” words.  With so many translators’ associations discouraging or forbidding any discussion of rates and economic matters, translators have nowhere to turn except perhaps to the internet.

Since CAT has become the signifier for computer-assisted translation, perhaps HAT (human-assisted translation) would be a good descriptor for pre- and post-editing.  With all due apologies to Dr. Seuss, I wonder what the CAT in the HAT would think about that.   And, even more importantly, what do human translators think about these trends?  After all, “real” translators know that human language is idiomatic, idiosyncratic, and constantly evolving.  They know that it is wishful thinking on the part of MT enthusiasts who say that “we are not there yet, but we are getting closer”.  Yet, many are taken in by this talk.  After all, language is the thing that separates us from the beasts of the field.  While those beasts may communicate on a primitive level, there is no evidence that they attempt to persuade, dissuade or otherwise manipulate their fellow creatures in any way.  That is a particularly human characteristic and there are lots of human beings who are making lots of money “persuading”. 

We should all be very angry about the present state of affairs.  We should be angry that some of our colleagues think so little of their skills that they are willing to work for peanuts (cf.  We should be angry when clients attempt to set the rates THEY will pay.  We should be questioning the practices involving translation memories and who owns them, and a whole host of other things.  Ideally, this discussion should be opened up and led by our translators’ organizations but, if what I observed at the ATA gathering in Denver is any indication, it is not going to happen.  So, it is up to the “real” translators, the ones who are in danger of becoming extinct, to make their voices heard, to use their language skills to persuade others to take a long, hard look at what is happening in our profession and then make their voices heard.        




Monday, November 29, 2010


Part 3

By Bernie Bierman

CAT tools themselves are not to be regarded as our enemies.  They didn’t do anything.  But the supposed translation specialists did it to themselves and the “real” translators let them.”

The above comment made in response to Part 2 of this series certainly has merit, and I would be hard-put to dispute it.  Indeed, I would say that in respect of the economic impact of computer-assisted translation, the CAT operators or workers (né[e] translators) are not the sole source of the problem, although their complicit behavior has certainly been a contributing factor.  From where I sit or stand and from my keen observations, it has been the language service providers (more commonly known as translation agencies) who have used CAT in an exploitative manner and at the same time have converted translation from a communications service into a commodities business, i.e., the selling of words.

The ability of the various CAT programs currently on the market to undertake “precise” computations consonant with their own (computational) parameters and formulas as to how many “new” words, “repeated” words, matches of phrases or passages or segments, percentages of matches, and so on and so forth down a whole line of esoteric calculations, has resulted in among other things the formulation of a rigid pricing structure that one would commonly find in the sale of goods or commodities.  But given the particular structure of the translation industry, the biggest impact of this pricing rigidity has fallen upon the so-called “low man or woman on the totem pole”, i.e., the independent CAT worker (who has manifested over and over again his or her willingness to accept such rigidity and consequent commodification of the service).

About two years ago, a CAT operator née translator named Ronnie McKee decided to take a much closer look at the computational methods used for determining what a translation agency would pay her for her labors.  She wrote, I was asked (by a translation agency in Spain) to translate a large document, namely, a 20,000- word corporate governance report, with a TM (translation memory) provided.  I had heard about rate scales having to do with number of repetitions, etc. etc., but I never really understood what it meant.  Well, now I do.  And for those who are interested, I'm going to share:”

And Ms. McKee did share, as others have subsequently done, and her findings evidence beyond a shadow of doubt that this intellectual service known as translation has become nothing more than the sale of commodity-like units, which see:
* * * * *
The following table represents the analysis undertaken by the Trados software of the document which Ms. McKee was asked to translate.  The data shown in this table has a direct relationship to the data shown in the immediately-following table, for that table shows what the translation agency will pay the CAT operator when it provides the latter with translation memory (TM) .
Match Types

Context TM



95% - 99%         

85% - 94%         

 75% - 84%         

 50% - 74%          

 No Match          


In the case of the translation agency involved in this transaction, a segment is defined as a sentence; it is what the system joins together into one translation unit.  In line with that, the subject document for which a translation was ordered from Ms. McKee contained (according to the computation undertaken by the agency’s Trados software) 149 repeated segments, and those segments included altogether 415 words.  The 100% line means that there were 909 segments in the source-language (SL) document  that have an identical match in the translation memory   The next group indicates that 67 segments have 95% to 99% matches. Accordingly, this agency determined that it would pay the CAT worker a different rate or amount based upon the degree of the match.
The subject SL document contained 284 segments of “brand new translation” (i.e., “No Match”), and those segments constituted 6055 words.  Therefore, the agency paid the CAT worker  the highest rate for those and paid the lowest rate for the 100% matches.
The table below was used by the translation agency for determining how much it would pay Ms. McKee for her work based upon the data embodied in the above-indicated table:
Match Types

* * * * *
A cursory glance at these figures indicates that for the entire project of 19,818 source language words, Ms. McKee was paid a total amount of € 701.96, which we’ll round off to €702.00, or approximately US$990.00.  That breaks down to €0.036 per SL word or US$0.05 per SL word. 

It would be tempting at this point to undertake a full, in-depth analysis of all of these figures to determine such things as how much Ms. McKee made on an hourly basis, how much efficiency did she achieve by using robotic translation tools, along with numerous other compensation-related aspects.  However, that is not the purpose behind the writing of this article, although it would certainly make good fodder for a future article.

Rather, the purpose behind the writing of this article is to point up not just the commodification of translation, but its total and complete commodification.  But not only does this total and complete commodification elicit comments (especially in the compensation-related area), but also raises numerous questions, questions that both translators and CAT workers have raised and continue to raise, such as how the particular CAT program (Trados, WordFast, DejaVu, et al) determines what is a 72% match or a 48% or a 12% match or a 91% match, and whether there isn’t some kind of interpretive element at work in such determination.  Many CAT operators have expressed and continue to express puzzlement over such determinations (made not by them, but by the translation agency), and even more puzzlement over the methods employed for arriving at such determinations. 

And another equally striking question is how a computer or computer program can determine that two segments in a source language document are identical without having a clue as to whether the target language will demand a somewhat different or very different translation because of that very naughty word context.  Admittedly, however, this is drifting slightly from the main thrust of this article, which to repeat is the commodification of translation.

The pinpoint breakdowns and classifications indicated in the tables shown above demonstrate beyond any discussion and beyond any doubt that the communications service once known as translation has become nothing more than a robotic selling of words…with certain words being the most expensive, other words being a little less expensive, and some words being bargain-basement cheap or in some cases given away for nothing (or if one prefers, given away in the most charitable manner).

And to support and otherwise propagandize this commodification, CAT workers and CAT operators are told that they will attain heights of efficiency and productivity never dreamt of just ten short years ago, and that this efficiency and productivity will double, triple or even quadruple their earnings.  How this will come about in the context of ever-falling translation prices and rates, of more and more competition and of more and more “memorization” of vocabulary, terminology, phraseology, etc., is never explained. 

Not surprisingly, the world community of CAT workers and operators has cheerfully accepted this commodification of their work (perhaps because many never knew better and/or never knew what preceded this commodification) and, in many cases, they have joined their translation agency clients to become the champions, the salespersons and propagandists of Words for Sale.

Yes, indeed, today one can easily tell when CAT workers and operators are gathered in one of their very numerous periodic meetings or conventions or conferences: there is a long line of chauffer-driven limousines, a small but obvious congregation of pilots and flight attendants for the numerous private jets waiting at the nearby airports, and of course a parade of the latest fashions in dress that warms the hearts and pocketbooks of the most elite designers of Paris and Milan

* * * * *

Postscript:  Some time in late January or early February of every year, I prepare financial data for my personal accountant, Smiley.  The data is neatly laid out so that Smiley does not unnecessarily have to call me for any explanations.  Now, I know and Smiley knows that I know that he does not sit down at his desk and spend literally hours upon hours with an adding machine and calculator filling out all sorts and manner of tax forms and declarations (as my late brother-in-law, also an accountant, had to do for many years). 

Nay, I know and Smiley knows that I know that he takes all of the data I provide him with, inputs it into a computer and in a matter of minutes, yes minutes, out come all of the completed tax returns and declarations.  However, when Smiley sends his bill, it does not reflect 12 minutes or 22.4 minutes, or even 1 hour and 7 minutes of work.  So you, the CAT worker out there who might be reading this article, may want to ask “Then what precisely does Smiley’s bill reflect?”

OK, I’ll tell you what it reflects: It reflects his knowledge, his skills, his expertise, his unique and singular talents, and I am more than happy to pay him for that knowledge, skill, expertise and talent, It provides me with a sound sleep at night.   I trust, or at least hope that the readers of this piece (whether they are CAT workers or translators or even translation agency executives) will get my drift, if not the message.


I don’t use CAT tools, but nevertheless I feel that it isn’t fair for a translator to charge for passages that are repeated in a document.  If I can cut and paste a passage, then I’ll charge only once for the words in that passage”
   - Statement by Eve Hecht, a translator and instructor in German legal translation at New York University, made at
       the 2010 convention of the American Translators Association.

If there is any one statement among literally hundreds of thousands of statements by translators (and their 21st century successors, CAT workers or CAT operators) that so perfectly reflects their economic attitudes, it is the one by Eve Hecht quoted above.  Unfortunately and indeed most regrettably (at least unfortunately and regrettably as I see the world of translation), Ms. Hecht’s beliefs and attitudes are not just widely accepted, they have become unquestioned conventional wisdom.  In this past decade more translators and their CAT worker successors have come to believe and accept the attitude expressed by Ms. Hecht.

I have said “unfortunately” and “most regrettably” only out of politeness and what I with some hesitation would call “good taste”.  But I hope that the reader will allow me the indulgence of setting aside the politeness and “good taste”, and allow me to express myself in the terms that would be more deserving of Ms. Hecht’s economic or commercial viewpoints.

Ms. Hecht’s statement makes me want to vomit!  It makes me want to scream. It makes me want to yell out, “Is that all that you think of yourself, of your unique skills (as a translator), of your talents?  Is that what you think of yourself and the work that you do…nothing more that some clerk-like endeavor, nothing more than an extension of the clerical furniture?  Is that all you think of the value of your time?  Is that all the self-worth you have?  Is this what you teach your students, namely that translation is nothing more than typing words, “NEW” words? 

You say, Ms. Hecht, that “it isn’t fair for a translator to charge for passages that are repeated in a document”.  It is not fair to whom?  Surprise me, Ms. Hecht, and tell me precisely why it is not “fair” for a translator to charge for a “repeated passage”.  Surprise me, Madame, and defend your position.  You claim that you are a translator of legal texts.  OK.  Suppose you have a passage like this:

Pursuant to the provisions of §12, section b.2 of Article 719 and §23, section d.1 of Article 793 of the Civil Procedure Code, as amended, the plaintiff can claim…” and two paragraphs later, the text reads, “But in the case before us, the provisions of §12, section b.2 of Article 719 and §23, section d.1 of Article 793 of the Civil Procedure Code, as amended, do not apply to a plaintiff who is unable…

As I understand it, Madame, the second time that the passage the provisions of §12, section b.2 of Article 719 and §23, section d.1 of Article 793 of the Civil Procedure Code, as amendedappears, you do not charge for the translating of that passage.  According to what you say, even if this passage appears ten times within the text, it is a “freebe” to the client, because as I understand your thinking, all you did was “cut and paste” or make a macro, and that in and of itself has zero value…to you (and to all other translation practitioners whom you believe should follow your “benevolent” and “self-sacrificing” attitude).

Tell me, Ms. Hecht, if the words “pursuant to” cropped up 75 times in a text, would you also eliminate those words 74 times from your word-count and attendant invoice? After all, according to you, the only thing you did was to make a little macro and push a button 74 times, and that certainly is not worth anything. Not a single Euro cent.  No a single penny.  Not a single centavo.  Not one single Turkish Lira.   Right?  After all, Ms. Hecht,  according to what you state and believe, it would not be fair for a translator to charge for pushing a macro key 74 times, or 174 times or 374 times.  Indeed,  Madame, why charge for words like “and”, “but”, “in”, “out”, “from”, “to”, “you”, “they”, “he”, “she”, etc., etc., etc., that repeat over and over and over again within any text?

If indeed, Madame, this is in fact what you believe and what you implement in your work, then I have absolutely no hesitation in expressing my opinion that you are precisely one of the many who have wittingly or unwittingly urinated upon the profession of translation, loudly proclaiming that it has little value and what little value it has is about on a par with the most menial clerical endeavor. 

You, Madame, in my most considered opinion are precisely why the translation-buying and translation-using public views and continues to view translators as nothing more than little language clerks and extensions of the clerical furniture.  Yes, Ms. Hecht, you truly want to make me vomit.  Now, really and truly surprise me and defend your position.

* * * * *