In today’s world of highly-developed technologies, we seem to have a solution for everything. The answer to practically all that has been troubling your mind lies in the space between your fingertips and the keyboard buttons you are about to press to Google that bad boy out.
From questions like “what’s the weather like?” to “what’s at the bottom of a black hole?”, if you can think it, the internet has it!
While this means we don’t have to remember so much general knowledge about the world, giving us the ability to concentrate on “more important stuff”, there’s one thing computers and robots cannot provide us or give answers about: The feeling of being multilingual. The importance of knowing more than one language.
I know “Less is more” has been getting famous lately, but here “The more the merrier” is the case.
People working in the translation field, translators and interpreters, as well as passionate travelers, are all well acquainted with the fact that the more languages you can speak the better life experiences you will get.
Imagine you travel abroad to an exotic place where traditions and customs have been so well preserved by the locals, that it’s incomparable to anything you’ve seen so far. Let’s say the Far East, where the place hasn’t lost its ethnicity even after so many tourists roaming around admiring its beauty. And you like this place and you want the get the best out of it! What’s the first thing you do? Communicate with locals. Well in those kinds of places you will rarely find people who speak English so what’s the second thing you do? Learn the basics of the language. Because sure you can go like tourist following your tourist guide showing you around and stuff but where’s the excitement in that?!
Mistakes are peculiarly powerful
Be bold when learning the language. Sure for some of us, the French ‘R’ can be a pain to pronounce (or better yet, not pronounce it) correctly but hey, no harm in trying. When traveling you must have that “this person has no idea what I just said” feeling at least once a day, and then you start from there. Learn to learn from the people directly. Make notes when you get the look of sheer confusion and give yourself a high-five when someone finally understood what you said. If your imperfect language causes you to get on the wrong bus and end up in a village on the other side of the country, then so be it. Next time you’ll pronounce the name of your town like you know your own name.
Translation is connecting the world
Translation is the passage between cultures and it grants us the recognition of the familiar in the foreign. Helping us to overcome the barriers; narrative by narrative, connecting humanity to humanity.
When you see something unfamiliar, be it a person or a place, your initial reaction is judgment. Good or bad, you judge unconsciously. This is why knowing the language is the most important thing when you want to absorb another culture, grab their slang and learn to laugh like the natives do.
Just bear in mind that as translation should never be underestimated, neither should the power of the language itself. When you remember this and become multilingual I guarantee the world will open at your feet.