When The Translation of Meat Bag Scares A Vegetarian: Context Confusion

by | Apr 24, 2017 | Activity

As I train for new adventures by setting a personal goal to climb the “7 Summits of the world”, I received an equipment list for my upcoming climb of the Carstensz Pyramid in Indonesia, this Fall.

The List That Made No Sense

The list was in French and when I had the translation done into English, I was puzzled with the following item:

English translation: Meat bag (insulating liner) – To absorb perspiration

Since it is a long climb with several days of jungle trekking just to reach base camp, my first thought was that this items was some form of a bag to preserve meat!  I’m a vegetarian so I thought I would not need this item on the list. However, I thought it might be prudent to contact Terra Ultima, the mountaineering company from Québec that will be providing us with guide services in Indonesia, and ask for clarification on the meaning of the above.

 Fairly Common Phrase

As it turns out “Meat bag” is simply an old expression that seems to be ‘fairly’ common in Québec, Canada, and it has nothing to do with meat. It is simply a sleeping bag liner for your sleeping bag.

Context in translation is very important, and this case, the clarification about the context provided me a sigh of relief!

Ema Dantas