Juggling with translations

John and I have been busy producing an abridged version of the website in other languages. John is working on the Danish text, and I on the French text. I am quite used to translating between French and English, and over the years have found my own way of shifting from one language to another. I have often noticed that it is much more to it than finding the write wording, there is something of a switch of mind-set or a cultural shift depending on which language I am thinking in. Using Google translate, we found out that going from English to Danish gave better approximations than from French to Danish. In fact, for the latter, the results bought out peals of laughter.

We all know that the kind of work we are involved in is difficult to put into words as we leave behind familiar frameworks and concepts. There is a whole new field of notions and ways of expressing ourselves that is awaiting us. I have consistently found it easier to do this in English and many times I have noticed that key words for me in English have no satisfactory equivalent in French. Here are a few examples that I have come across: empowerment, awareness, leadership, ownership, accountability, scholarship, stewardship, … and many others. I sometimes feel that I am a different person when I am thinking in English than in French. Not quite the Wholeness experience that I am looking for! Maybe it is time for me to hold in oneness my many cultural dimensions.

John and I have taken the opportunity of producing the texts in Danish and French to discuss translation issues. (And I am improving my Danish at the same time. Well, not quite, but it was worth trying to affirm so.) At one point I suggested to John that he posted something in the blog about our choices in Danish. Then I paused thinking, “Wait a minute, why not do this also in French”. This led to realising that the posts on the blog and on FaceBook do not have to be in English and we can also share in other languages.

Time now to switch to French and to share more with our French-speaking followers. And those of you who do not read French can try to see what