My mother in law and what comes with it

April 13, 2017

I think it is the time to post it. My mother in law got stuck in the airport due to weather conditions and can’t get out. I am not sure how to react now but here is my post I wrote some time ago.

My mother in law and what comes with it.

It is she, the procurement supervisor of my family, the logistic support mechanism in our house, the admin assistant in our day to day operations, the caring nurse and the first aid contact, the love of my life, the Mehebbet.

It is difficult and by difficult I mean virtually impossible and even virtually may be redundant here to describe another love of my life after my kids, my parents, and my wife. The modern love that brought love is my lovely love, i.e my mother in law whose name happens to be mehebbet or muhabbat, or habibi or whatever another root of the word you can read here, ain’t kidding, sir, ain’t kidding.

I understand there is much talk about mother in laws and the ways they make your life complicated, but, it is certainly not the case with me. You know sometimes you go to a shop, and there is a promo campaign, and you buy one thing, and get a bonus on top of that. So with my marriage, the bonus outweighed the very product. I thank my wife for having a mother like my mother in law. That does not happen often.

It feels strange a bit as many don’t understand you when you praise this family member. But I am happy not to be alone and find out there is a special group of people who have been blessed with quality, gluten free halal only supportive mother in laws, also known as “the mother in laws” fan club.

Don’t forget to channel their vast energy wisely and all will be fine.

Inspiration for new students

January 12, 2017

I went to university and picked up interpretation faculty majoring in Spanish not because I loved Enrique Iglesias or his father, or Shakira for that matter, though the latter would be more logical. I went on to study el Castellano with too much of pragmatism inherited from my super mega cool dad who was a Heydar Aliyev style person. No worries. This ain’t political post, ladies and gentlemen. Keep on reading.

My pragmatism led to a career of an interpreter, focusing more and more on niche market as simultaneous interpretation. Now, I practice all types of multi language ninja activities including consecutive, conference, escort and whispering. My last whispering assignment though was to whisper/interpret for an old lady on how not to get killed by infectious disease at a conference on how not to get killed by infectious disease. That ain’t the best thing a man whispers to a woman, but who cares.

There are two reasons to become Interpreter-Sapiens. First, be one if you want to be smart, and second – go for that if you wish to make quality gluten-free intellect-based halal-only money. If you don’t care about the first one, the second should get you going.

Native Azerbaijani or Russian speakers with interpretation skills who also speak fluent Spanish and English are not exactly hanging around on street corners. It is therefore why interpreters make good money, nothing to hide here, but I mean, good interpreters, and by good I mean really good, like groovy good.

Some organizers claim we will disappear soon, as google develops tech savvy stuff, online translation and so on. Translators will perhaps drop dead somewhere shortly, but interpreters are here with us for many decades to come. Y porqué? Cause I don’t see many android-like robots walking into Crystal Hall speaking Mandarin with localization to Azerbaijani with Ganja accent. Why Ganja? My wife is from there. I have to occasionally use my skills to communicate with her when I got a feeling we speak different languages. We will survive google.

Allah bestowed a brain with some gray matter in it upon you to make you ponder. The grey matter differs but the next step is yours in any case. You either sluggish and complain or go after your goals in life. Your creator decreed on what is going to happen, but that should not stop you. Dostoyevski, and I know it is a sharp turn from Allah to Dostoyevski, but Fyodor Mikhailovich said this: there is no standing position, if you don’t move forward, you move backward.

I studied Spanish for a reason i.e. to secure a comparative advantage over others, my would-be competitors in 10-year time. I wanted to get the healthy share of the market bread. It looks I did.

Interpreting is a skill you polish on top of the talent. Play with it. Learn every day. Get yourself going. Work hard whether it is linguistics, finance, business, education, relationship or anything else. Be fulfilled, it is a bloody good feeling, amigos.

Happy school day and see you in class!

On sincerity in life

January 9, 2017

You know, sincerity is an exceptionally expensive gift. It is huge, seriously. A sincere talk, a sincere attitude, a sincere advice, there is very little of it in our mundane life.

People around have multiple masks and faces and put one when they need it if the circumstances are conducive. Those that smile but backbite, those that cherish and laugh with you but hate and laugh at you, those that are jealous but fake friendship. Snake-like people. The other day and many other days I had a coffee with a group of people, who continued to talk and make fun of their superior. I did not want to hear that. Six individuals were so happy to mimic, ridicule and deride with such a disdain that I felt I was eating a dead man’s flesh. I smelled that. That was just one of the issues. The second one was even worse. 

You are half of those you deal with, you are surrounded by people and whether you want it or not, you assimilate their characteristics, mostly bad ones, as my Colombian friends were saying: lo malo se pega fácilmente – the bad stuff sticks quickly. If you are surrounded by cowards, you involuntarily soar up all these qualities, features, and attributes and don’t even notice how you become one of the rats and snakes that are afraid to speak up and hide and bite the backs and plot the games with that poisonous serpent make up. 

Sincerity is an expensive gift. To value it, you need to live a pure life, a life you would not regret when it is over, a life when being true to yourself is more important than the wealth, the status and the power. This life is short. Mind that. 

#whatmakesaninterpreter and not only. 

On motivation.

January 4, 2017

Written up in the air on Dec 31-Jan 1 flight. 

I am great believer of luck and I find out, the harder I work, the more of it I have. Sounds awesome, right? Not my words. Some people wish luck and I still try to guest what is it? Can’t find a reasonable answer. To me, there are two components of what you call luck. One hard work, two predestination (look up in the dictionary). The destiny, the will, the will of whom, yours? Not really. The will of your Creator, if you believe in him, or luck? One can’t go without the other. 

I think how to prepare myself for big opportunities and decisions like life changing events, going into which university, marrying which woman, as there are many, exactly as universities. Decisions that are long term, such as moving overseas, changing principles and lifestyles, these decisions that trigger other stuff as easy as infamous Kalashnikov.

When the moment comes, you have to be ready. You can’t just sit and do nothing and then complaint the moment has not arrived. You have not arrived. 

Allah continues to bestow opportunities that you miss simply because you are not prepared. So many of us live in a hopeful expectation. Most dream, picture rewards, recognition, wealth, yet when the moment comes, they blow it. Dude, have your head in the game, please. 

It is a rather odd quandary. Why pursue your big shot without preparing for the reality? Is it possible that people simply don’t really believe it’s possible? Eventually, that’s a poor excuse for failing short. If the big thing comes and you can’t recognize it or use it, you will let people down and by people I mean you. You will let yourself down first. And you know what is even worse, it is that you will probably never see that same opportunity again. Prepare yourself and assess your readiness. Be as unflinchingly honest and criticize yourself to the max, so then you become a better person professionally, personally, academically and other-ly. 

#whatmakesaninterpreter and not only. 

Linguistic wonders of the Middle East

November 23, 2016

Based on true story.

Can you by chance, somehow, I don’t know how, but guess what nationality and what variation of English, a gentleman called George Joseph Rodriguez could have and speak. When my friends’ phone rung up and the screen displayed George Joseph Rodriguez, I expected absolutely everything, but an Indian guy with Radj Kapur mustache speaking berry berry istrange hinglish, sir.

What happens with Shakespeare in the Middle East is and shall be considered a linguistic harassment, a verbal rape if you like and those who do so, shall be sentenced to an intensive mandatory language training somewhere there, not here.

During these days, I found out Angushia is a country, three, free and tree is the same, Azerbaijan is Aderbaijan or even worse, a Badimjan. The list goes on and on. Hardly anyone around understood me, the Indian, the Pakistanis, the Bangladeshis, the Filipinos, the Malays, the Arabs from Sudan, Syria, Egypt. Noone did. I thought: taxi drivers don’t understand me, reception guys don’t understand me, lobby, janitors, security don’t understand me. I felt alone. I felt abandoned. I felt I had to downgrade, and it wasn’t that I spoke Shakespeare, it`s just I wasn’t George.

To my surprise, I also found out there is an entire coffee chain in Pakistan called Sattar Buksh, which looks exactly as George with mustache and identical with the coffee brand you know. Linguistically, I had to break down long sentences and start with a verb, cut off all the usual politeness and forget about: sir, would you please be so kind to carry my luggage to the room and say, hey, boss, luggage carry. I had to learn how to nod and shake my head in gangam style which sometimes helped, but not always. I wore my language camouflage and tried to be seen as someone from this planet in this linguistically terrified surroundings.

People in badimjan know me for exceptional language skills and services but I confess I am nothing like George Joseph Rodriguez. I still need to learn how to speak ithis berry berry istrange language, sir.

Dedicated to him, my new hero.

I will always remember you, George Joseph Rodriguez. #whatmakesaninterpreter

Interpreter’s tough job.

November 5, 2016

It is flimsy be an interpreter who accidentally happens to be a linguist and etymologist and other ists because not all interpreters as you can envisage are linguists and etymologists (look up etymologist in Oxford Dictionary) and other ists. But it is not only tough for him but frankly speaking for most of you around as he tends to correct and comment about the way you speak, converse, articulate, pronounce and otherwise engage in any possible verbal extravaganza (look up in the same dictionary). 

This can and certainly will put you in trouble, as you burst for corrective actions and linguistically harass regular not sophisticated folks who may not necessarily want to hear the very how of proper speaking in your outstanding performance. I went to the bank the other day, it was about seven or eight years ago the other day, but do you really care when it was, the other day? I can check my agenda. So, I went to the bank the other day and was bluntly forced into hearing a conversation among three banking guys trying to find the right word in Azerbaijani. Oh, those lovely moment when you hunt for word but don’t know which one, that mental block, that adrenaline. They spent some time asking around and playing trivial. Meanwhile, in the background, I was running out of my short linguistic patience and eventually enquired what was the bloody word. They were reluctant to cooperate with professional linguistic authority which made me sad and I pushed harder, they said: confiscate, huh?! I said müsadirə etmək and added you are welcome, huh?! They did not see that coming. I never heard a thank you though.

Interpreter is one of the most educating professions you may ever have but this is precisely why some of us (read:me) become intellectually condescending (again:dictionary) when we meet other regular sapiens that can’t verbally compete with us, you know, the chosen people. You see, again, condescending. 

Evil laugh part (muhahaha) #whatmakesaninterpreter 

Thoughts on education.

October 4, 2016

Knowledge is the key and your diploma has nothing to do with it.

When I was a kid, I would spend countless hours every day at my desk scrutinizing and perusing my favorite book, digging into every single line and copying the words into, at that time, my paper database. That book was my dictionary, in fact many dictionaries, explanatory, visual, regular translation ones and thesauruses, more of them.

The zeal for the most enriched vocabulary was so strong, it then transformed into a paranoiac quest for words, phrases, etymology and linguistic figures in all languages I spoke to be seamlessly imported into my head. By the time I was in the 9 year of my high school, I already knew perhaps more words than all my schoolmates, yeah, not classmates, combined including my quasi sophisticated English language teachers at schools 82, 83 and 193. The play with words I engineered to make horrible fun of my tutors deserves a separate post however. That was despicable.

My private language teacher however, Ms. Alla Vladimirovna, was a genius in its kind graduated from University of Languages not here in sunny Baku, but there in rainy Saint Petersburg with not so much marble on streets, but certainly a whereabout with more walking grey matter. That woman used to remind me when I failed to do the homework, Elnur, success is 90 percent perseverance and only 10 percent talent. I had talent, but she always said, it was not enough when I wanted to cheat her by use of convoluted language and I knew how to do it even as a kid. She was an incredibly smart individual, skillful in sophisticated Russian, literature, history, art and English. She taught me for almost 10 years three times per day all year long, non-stop. She taught the language, linguistics, psychology, behavior, manners, values and so much more. Alla Vladimirovna remained single Russian woman until the end of her life without anyone to share her immense knowledge, having all street cats around and absorbing the hot water aguardiente Russian vodka quite often. Gradually, the smell of cats and dogs, and alcohol was everywhere on her dress. Alcohol and lack of will destroyed a genius mind she had, she started to sell unique books, those that she and I had read together, and then used the money to buy more drinks. Alla Vladimirovna was certainly a tutor. I wish we had more people like her in kindergartens, schools and universities, but with a different destiny an different desires.

I am an instructor myself and see some abysmal issues here in education. It is real. If we fail to address it now, all the smart people will leave, which is actually happening. In past 6 months, many whom I know, left, has thought about leaving or are planning to leave. Who will replace these guys? Have you thought about it?

Just thoughts #whatmakesaninterpreter

Today I failed.

September 22, 2016

Today I failed. 

Consecutive interpretation is different from simultaneous. It requires a totally different set of skills, approaches to stress management, understanding and memory related aptitudes. 

Many mistakenly believe simultaneous is harder than consecutive. It is not. 

I observed in myself this challenge I need to cope with when I switch from long simultaneous weeks to occasional consecutive meeting. Rendering simultaneous is associated with a “wipe out” function in your brain when you need to immediately forget what was just said after you interpreted that. If not, you will explode. This can’t work in one to one or one to many meetings when your hard drive needs to absorb the information from source language, process it and deliver in target language. This function makes it worse in consecutive, because you remember just first seconds of the speech and since you brain got used to forget, you forget. 

Stress management techniques are not the same for sim and cons either. Simultaneous interpreter copes with the stress in the booth by himself, away from staring eyes and looks whereas consecutive guys is being visually lynched and observed condescendingly if an error is committed. Consecutive requires public speaking skills linked to self-confidence on stage. Simultaneous is an introvert style job for an extrovert. It is good to have your skin in the game to understand what went wrong. 

Today I failed. It was clean and clear as a whistle. I could not deliver well. I was on stage. I was on foot. Note taking was hard and did not help. The words were imprecise and omissions were plenty. I was corrected by an official four times as I skipped important segments of the speech and misdelivered. I was tremblingly fearful of what people witnessed in my poor performance. I did not recognize myself, did not recognize that Elnur. You know which Elnur. It was better towards the end, but the scent of lost battle refused to let it go. Self critical approach is key and understanding of your mistakes, confessing up to them is a prerequisite. 

You need to fail to be better. I failed today. I will be better tomorrow. 

“Come fly with me” post #2

September 22, 2016

I got a job in airline industry, you know that, right? Otherwise, I am surprised you did not ask for free tickets yet. And many people still do ask for free upgrade to Bahamas even if we don’t fly there, and CIP lounge I have not been to myself, and more luggage to transport all your fancy schmancy items purchased last time somewhere in Bodrum.

One of the things you need to understand about people who work for airlines is that not all of them get free perks. They might, but not necessarily. And, when I say, come fly with me, I explicitly, clearly and by all means imply you should actually spend money and fly. Flying for free happened in Azerbaijan only once with Alim Qasimov at European Olympic Games in Baku in 2015 and that is all.

Anyhow, my wife blames me I can’t rest, I am workaholic. She is right, but what is rest? Getting to Gabala where my big family spends time and money, going there to carry kids and take care of them, fetching all possible and impossible items, spend the whole time with them and for them, getting exhausted in the end of the day and call it rest? Me not sure. Don’t get me wrong, I am in love with my kids, and my wife, and my preciously irresistible mother in law, and no, I am not kidding, I told ya before.

So, my one day retreat slash business to Georgia is kinda rest, which goes back to the equation: out of Baku means rest. It certainly makes you feel and see in different perspective. The more you travel, the more you see from different angles, previously not visible to your megapixeled eye.

Not the first time here, but it still looks like Georgian people love black color, and crosses, many of them and love to eat well. After vibrant Baku, this seems like a small town. People are simple. You have what you have. Not all are against Russian language. Many speak English. It is not as cheap and affordable as before. See the exchange rate. But cheaper than Baku by all means. Baku is like London now, with same prices but not of the same quality. Money has no tangible value, flowing like a river somewhere you don’t know where. #hechzad

Some pics attached.


EID – Ramadan

September 22, 2016

Ok, now. Ramadan is on.

If you did not notice some people on this multibillion planet were fasting for a month and now the R moment, the Ramadan has finally arrived. Fasting is good for your health, spirit, faith and budget if you do not care about the last three. Long hours giving up shish kabab and any kind of drink – yes that does include water, ayran, and your Red Bull before you ask – among other sacrifices is almost over.

If you happen to be Muslim, you somehow know or at least should, know the whole story of Ramadan, and if you are not, you still need to read this anyways.

So, what is it? Why is it important and what does it symbolize?

Ramadan is critical to Muslims because it is the month when Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) received the revelations from Allah which eventually led to the Qur’an, the Holy Scripture of Muslims. During this month, people (Muslims, and ideally not only) will give to charity, abstain from smoking if they do, which they should not, refrain from backbiting and swearing and sexual activity from sunrise until sunset among other activities. Well, in terms of sexual activity, there is no energy for this anyways even though in Ramadan we have dates every evening, but those are not those dates if you know how to play with words.

We do this for Allah to strengthen our faith, and it is now when you should say thank Allah (Alhamdulillah) for everything we have. We have food at the end of the day but in many places, people are forced to endure the hunger without any choice. This is a moment when you should say alhamdullilah for a safe place to live in at the times of challenges and dispersed terror in the world. This is a moment when you should say alhamdullilah for your house, your car, your eyes, your legs, your kidney, your parents, your child and so many other yours that you have and other’s don’t. It is a moment to stop being a selfish, greedy, egocentric, ignorant someone on this planet who claims everyone owes him something that he never did anything for. It is the moment to say thank Allah for picking you up and giving you everything. Be thankful, dude. It seriously helps.

Ramadan is a beautiful bliss and it truly is. Today is the last day of the fasting and it is one of the rare moments when Azerbaijan celebrates this in lockstep with the entire world, you know, frequently we make up our own rules. I know you usually ask yourself all these silly questions when you wait for iftar, like how many bags of peanuts come in the bag of bag of peanuts and visualize the steak in your mouth or play the “let the real hunger games begin” in your mind, and yes, the month of Ramadan is over, but don’t let that spirit disappear. Keep the attitude as much as possible for the rest of the year, walk humbly, talk politely, treat kindly, pray attentively, donate generously and may Allah bless and protect you.

Ramadanly yours,

Takabbala minna və minkum (Let Allah accept from you and us)