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Voice of America

The Thumb
Here to stay.


Something that stands out from its surroundings is said to stick out like a sore thumb, because a throbbing thumb is often vividly red. And more and more Americans' thumbs are quite literally sticking out in just this way. So many that in their medical journals, orthopedic specialists are describing an epidemic of sore thumbs.
stands out: sobresale; is said to stick out: se dice que salta a la vista; sore thumb: pulgar inflamado; throbbing thumb: pulgar dolorido; medical journals: publicaciones médicas; epidemic: epidemia.

It's all because of pocket-sized
personal computers such as BlackBerries, Palm-brand handhelds, and certain cellphones. Barely bigger than a credit card, these little devices have itsy-bitsy keyboards. The most popular way to type a message while holding onto them is to use one's thumbs. And by the millions, over and over again, day and night, Americans are doing just that – checking and sending their e-mails.
pocket-sized: (tamaño) de bolsillo; handhelds: portátiles; barely: apenas, poco más; devices: dispositivos; itsy-bitsy: diminutos (coloquial); holding onto them: se los sostiene.

The result can be a painful, tingling, or numbing
mini-version of carpal tunnel syndrome and tendinitis that used to affect only those who repeatedly manipulate larger machines.
painful: dolorosa; tingling: hormigueo; numbing: entumecimiento; tendinitis: tendonitis (inflamación de los tendones).

The Washington Post newspaper, which recently wrote about thumb pain, illustrated the story with a photograph of three White House staff members standing side by side at one of President Bush's speaking engagements. All three where thumbing away on their BlackBerries. A similar photo of ordinary folks
could have been taken in cafes and waiting rooms across America.
side by side: codo a codo, uno al lado del otro; engagements: encuentros; thumbing away: digitando; folks: personas, parroquianos (coloquial).

As with a drinking problem, abstinence
is the only proven remedy. And by all accounts, texting on one's palm-size personal device can be just as hard a habit to kick. So while delightfully convenient, handheld communications can exact an excruciating
toll. But things could be worse. As the Post article points out, in Japan, teenagers are now referred to as the thumb generation.
abstinence: abstinencia; proven remedy: remedio o solución comprobada; by all accounts: sin lugar a dudas; excruciating toll: consecuencias muy dolorosas, alto precio; points out: señala, destaca; thumb generation: generación del pulgar.

Source: VOA - Voice of America

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