Let's say you were translating today's pop hits into sign language: how, exactly, would you get across the meaning of the chorus from Ke$ha's "Tik Tok" or the opening of Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance," without both just coming off like bland "ohhhhh"s? And what would you do with double entendres, which are practically required in pop music these days? Those are all the things a sign-language translator at a concert has to think about, and it can be more complicated than you might think, as the Washington Post discovered. Damn that Lady Gaga and her penis metaphors:
Here is the lyric:
"Come on now, this beat is sick. I wanna take a ride on your disco stick."
Here is the problem:
1. There is no ideal translation for the word "disco" in this circumstance.
2. The word [the translator] might normally sign for "stick" generally refers to what would snap off of a tree branch.
Thus, if the sentence is translated word-for-word from English to its corresponding signs, the resulting phrase could come across as something like, "I want to ride on the twig of John Travolta's dance moves."
The rest of the article is great — these people need to both get sign language and get the music, which must narrow down the applicant pool considerably — but the trouble caused by Lady Gaga's dirty, strange euphemisms is clearly the standout nugget. How would you best get across everything implied in the term "disco stick"? I think I'd go with "gay staff."