A marvelous article on translation and the power of language: McCulture
I am lucky, in that I speak two other languages besides English. I can read the untranslated works of Nobel winners Herta Müller and Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio; in fact, there are no English translations of many of my favorite authors.
When I decided it was time to go to grad school, I very seriously considered applying to the translation and interpretation program at the Monterey Institute of International Studies, because I truly love to translate, and am good at it, but the languages I speak are not in high enough demand for me to be able to make a living at it. However, if I decide to pursue a second Master’s, this will be what I choose.
Because of my unique situation growing up, I don’t self-identify as American. Oh sure, I can pass as one with no problem, and that’s what my passport identifies me as, but I’ve spent a third of my life not living in the US. There are many American concepts, actions, and traditions that completely baffle me.
I attended St Olaf College, which strongly encourages its students to study abroad; my freshman year was the only year I spent entirely on campus. When I studied in Germany at the Universität Konstanz I lived in a dorm with other international students, and took all of my classes but one with German students; before I went to the university, I did an internship with a company that has now been assimilated by this conglomerate. When I studied in France at the Université Rennes 2 – Haute Bretagne I lived with a French host family and took classes with the other international students.
I speak three languages more or less fluently, and I understand chunks of several more.
There are things I cannot express in English, because there is no way to do so.
I dream in other languages.