If you ever have to translate a word or short phrase into another language, or check the spelling of a foreign word, Google Translate is a wonderful tool.   As a first generation American of Estonian decent, I sometimes forget if an Estonian vowel requires an umlaut.  So, I’ll type the troublesome word into the translator, wait a microsecond, and then the Google version of those handy-dandy UN headphones performs linguistic magic.  For example, if I type in “vowel” I’ll hit the umlaut trifecta: “täishäälik.”  

And there are many choices in Google Translate.  Spanish – check.  Chinese – check.  Azerbaijani – check.  But unfortunately, Environmental Jargon is not an option.   And that’s a shame.  Because the language environmental regulators and consultants speak is as Greek as one of those tasty spinach spanakopitas.   So, maybe someday you’ll be able to enter environmental mumbo-jumbo into an on-line translator.  
In the meantime tough, if you would like to test your personal knowledge of environmental lingo, below is a multiple choice quiz.  The directions are simple – read the term and then choose the answer that best matches the definition. Read all of the answers before making your choice.   If you do not know the answer, quietly lower your head in shame (you’ll see why shortly).  When finished, forward this link to all of your LinkedIn contacts.  Here we go… 
Acute hazard:
(a) a short-term exposure threat to large amounts of toxic substances  
(b) Lindsay Lohan
Artesian Well:
(a) a naturally pressurized well that flows with no pumping required 
(b) a recently discovered well drilled by Pablo Picasso 
Emissions cap:
(a) the maximum allowable amount of a particular pollutant from a point source 
(b) a stinky beret
(a) the treated or non-treated liquid discharging from a pipe into a receiving water 
(b) one who is verbose with curse words  
(a) Someone who qualifies to conduct and supervise Phase I Environmental Site Assessments, based on education, certifications, and/or experience  
(b) Probably not someone who writes mock environmental quizzes based on dry, satirical, and/or sophomoric humor 
Exposure Pathway:
(a) the scenario through which one can come into contact with a toxic situation  
(b) forgetting to pull up the zipper on your trousers  
NB Partner’s President Joseph Derhake discusses the exposure pathway resulting from the migration of volatile chemicals from the subsurface into overlying buildings in his article titled “The New Vapor-Intrusion Standard” in Scotsman Guide. You can read it here
Free product: 
(a) light or dense non-aqueous phase liquid 
(b) the sample of honey maple ham you receive while waiting patiently at the deli counter
Historic Fill Material
(a) soil of unknown origin, often including contaminated industrial waste and by-products
(b) the stuff inside Twinkies, often including similar sounding by-products 
(a)  the science of averting workplace illness or injury
(b)  the science of extremely well groomed machines
If you answered “a” for all of the questions above, congratulations, you are well versed in environmental jargon. If you answered “b” for any of the questions above, congratulations, you were probably the class clown in high school.  
Stay tuned for J through Z in a future column!