Sounds simple enough, doesn't it? But what do words really mean? Will 'olive' ever evoke for you what 'oliva' does for a Sicilian? You might think of an olive as something you pick up off the supermarket shelf in a jar, or if you're lucky, buy loose from a deli counter, stoned, soft and wallowing in vinegary brine.
But to a Sicilian, it means waves of silvery leaves on a hillside overlooking the sea; brilliant pistachio-coloured oil breathing freshly cut grass; and vibrant green fruits speckled with white, smashed open when still hard, to let them soak up garlic, lemon, wild fennel and chilli. So, you might well wonder, is 'olive' really just a word? I have been living in Italy for thirty years, soaking up its culture as well as its garlic, lemons, wild fennel and much else besides. But I grew up in England, teach English, write and speak English. That's why I can help you change your oliva into an olive, without turning it into a cold-counter filler. Because no word is just a word. Because anyone can translate words. But a good translator will translate the thoughts and memories behind them.