Lost in Translation

I have been doing freelance translation and interpretation for year. I enjoy doing it a lot, specially when it involves helping people like interpreting for someone going to the doctor, or when translating a progress report to a parent from a school. It is not an easy job, and it has a lot of responsibility involved with it because you can very easily confuse or offend someone.

I also do informal translating once in a while, translating a song for someone that wants to know the meaning of something that sounds good to them, or a love letter for a couple that only have the language of love in common. Those are a little more fun to do sometimes.

The interesting thing is that I did not get into translation and interpreting because of me being bilingual, the strong pull came from having a friend during high school that was deaf. We did TTY a couple of times and it amazed me that someone would actually act as a conduit for a couple of teenager’s conversation. That friendship also lead me to wanting to learn ASL and becoming an interpreter of that language also. That goal is kind of in the back burner at the moment, but I am pretty sure that I will some day pick it back up again.

Recently I helped someone online with a couple of simple phrases. They chat in a couple of international rooms and they wanted to have something on their profile that was understood by the Spanish audience. Then I got an email from them that really got my brain going.

Being interested in tattoos and Asian cultures I have plenty of times considering getting either Kanji or Chinesse symbols as part of a tattoo. Then I discovered the complexity of the languages and the symbols. There is no such thing as a Chinesse alphabet, and a lot of the symbols are attached to a meaning rather than a letter. There is also the whole tone and other variations of meaning, honorifics, enough things to make you question your sanity about really wanting to learn one of the Asian languages.

Then I heard about the urban legend of an Asian tattoo artist tattooing people with the word “whore” and it made me even more weary about getting something in a language I don’t know on my body. You place a huge amount of trust on the person providing you the information so if you want to get one of those tattoos, please make sure you research it.

That is what the person that I was translating stuff for was going to do, or actually a friend of them. They were going to get a tattoo of some Spanish words that were a direct translation of a simple phrase in English. The problem is that the direct translation in Spanish does not have the same meaning, it actually made no sense. I am glad they inquired before getting it, and in the end they will get whatever feels right for them, but it really opened my eyes to getting a tattoo of a symbol from a language I don’t know very well. Then again, the prayer from Boondock Saints in Latin still seems like an awesome tattoo.

The Choice of Goodness

I crave intelligent conversation. I crave intelligent topics that actually make my brain look at things in a different way. I love sharing ideas and dissecting thoughts. I also love being able to put those away and have mindless fun. This weekend I did a lot of both. My friend Tom is a pinball and old atari games collector. We have lunch together about once a month when we can, but we had not been doing it in the past couple of months. I am glad we had the chance to see each other a couple of times this past week because it finally made something in my head click.

I have been having this discussion with EmawKC for a while about people’s goodness. The simple idea begins as just a simple discussion about how being a nice person is a choice. You either chose to be a good person, help others, care about others, etc. However, this is a lot more complicated than that. Being apathetic is also a choice and requires no work… but does that make you a good or bad person? What about the person that seems to work very hard at being disliked by others? Are we good or bad by nature, do our instincts rule us?

There is a really weird twist to this whole topic, and it has to do with knowledge. Some people claim ignorance as a shield for their behavior. If they don’t “know” they are being corrosive to a situation, they do no claim responsibility. We also little by little become trained to dismiss stupidity in conversation as ignorance. Inappropriate behavior is rampant and so many claim that political correctness is what made it all worse. It just becomes harder and harder to interact with people that are close minded or have views that conflict with what you believe is reality.

I am not an expert on anything, and most of what I post here is more exploration than postulation. Ideas string together to maybe spark some knowledge gathering and sharing. I can speak of what I have gone through and done, and encourage someone towards the path of possibility. Would you take financial advice from a beggar on the street? What about if he was a wall street guru that through circumstances lost his sanity and mind, except for that of sharp numbers?

Through my conversation I have come to the conclusion that so many points of view are so wrong that they are not even worth my time. So many people in this society have become so accustomed to the individualism mantra that anything opposite sounds foreign. We are a society in war with the thought of community and even less of a clue when it comes to cultural identity. We turned personal responsibility into a game of finger pointing and forgot what it really means. People today don’t look at a situation to see how they help create it, but rather how they can blame someone else for placing them on that situation.

So it goes back to the choice. I think change is coming, change has come. This is not Obama, or politics, or even religion. It simply means that in my experience a choice has to be made by the individual and a path has to be chosen. Are you good by choice? Do you try to be a nice person? Do you try to care for others?

Mt Dew Is Evil

I first heard of Mountain Dew Mouth on an ABC news report. I am not sure if the news reporting was sound or not, but it was a little scary to think that whole communities are addicted to something that can cause so much harm. While some of it comes down to personal choice just like smoking, I find it troubling that people can be as ignorant as to give MtDew to a toddler.

My Dad worked for Postobon, the distributor of Pepsi back in Colombia. I am very familiar with the whole process of making carbonated drinks. I have visited the bottling plants so many times that I lost count. I did a couple of school projects on how the production works, heck I even almost crash one of the delivery trucks when one of the drivers told me to move it forward when I was 12 and I was not familiar with air breaks. I love pop and have been drinking it for years, however, it never caused me any harm (besides getting me fat) until I started to drink MtDew.

I discovered MtDew during college. This was before there was Redbull and the whole energy drink craze. I used it sparingly to stay awake. However, it became a habit during my first job. It was a start up company where we had to do everything from programming from running big printers. We worked long hours and there I had my only 30 hour work day when some servers went down. I drank MtDew like it was water mostly because the fridge at work was always full of it.

I started to have horrible stomach pains every time I drank it. At first I thought it was the caffeine, but I could drink coffee with no problem. Since back then I have very rarely drank MtDew anymore. My only recent memory about the product was the whole uproar in the gaming community when they changed the flavor of Diet MtDew.

It was very sad to see what look like so many kids addicted to MtDew. It is a parent’s responsibility to keep stuff like this from a toddler’s mouth. Dentist seem to think that this is the worse soft drink because of its acidic content combined with sugar, not even taking into account the high amount of caffeine. The other part that troubled me about the report was that it insinuated that MtDew is used as an antidepressant because of it caffeine & sugar high it gives people.

I don’t know if Pepsi set out to create the most addicting and damaging soft drink, we have discovered that tobacco companies did work on making cigarettes even more addicting. I am also not a conspiracy theorist that believe that it can lower your sperm count, even though it is a scary thought that teens now think it can be used as a form a contraceptive. I guess watch you have to watch your teenager’s MtDew consumption for several reasons now.

I do believe that it is personal responsibility and education that can prevent this kind of things from happening. Any product out there can be abused, it is just a matter of knowing when to stop. I know that MtDew will never be part of my regular diet, but talking about it makes me want to go get one from the vending machine. I think my swimmers will be just fine.

Friday Fill Ins 118

And…here we go!

1. Angel or not, I will _____.

2. _____ any way you want me.

3. As my mother used to say, you’re full of _____.
feelings, nothing more that feelings!

4. _____ after I’m done working out or doing something strenuous.
I shower!

5. Even in the most crowded of rooms _____.
I can spot the werewolf!

6. _____ is a day fraught with peril.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to _____, tomorrow my plans include _____ and Sunday, I want to _____!
maybe a movie, dinner with friends and lemon meringue pie, (MC Hammer) Pray! Pray!

To Call It Quits

I have helped a couple that was on their way to divorce make the right decision for them, which was to stay together. I also supported the divorce of another friend as a smart move, even though it was painful to see one of the first couples that I even witnessed joining matrimony.

In the past month 3 long term relationships have ended around me, two of them with over 15 years of history and both of them with kids. You would think that someone that has been divorced before and who’s parents also divorced would be used to it, but even today it pains me to hear about it.

One of the many problems in our society today, or maybe even the biggest problem, is that relationships are disposable. Being part of a community does not have the same feel it did before, being part of a friendship feels temporary to so many, being part of a marriage to some is just a matter of numbers, half are going to end up divorced.

Divorce is a horrible thing to go through, I don’t recommend it. Nobody sets out to marry the wrong person, but many of us do. I think it has a lot to do with maturity in many levels. Nobody under the age of twenty five should get married in my opinion. I have seen that most people experience a lot of changes in world view during their early twenties and it can wreck havoc on relationships crafted before that. There is nothing wrong with marrying your high school sweetheart, just make sure that you both don’t wake up when you are in your forties wondering why you are so unhappy with the life you thought would be perfect.

I believe that divorce is the answer only when abuse of any kind is involved. A lot of the other problems in marriages can be solved if both parties are willing to work at it. I believe in counseling to find answers, and have seen that most problems with marriages come from bad communication. We all have wants and needs and being able to convey those to the person that is going to spend the rest of our lives with us is critical.

If you are a friend or a reader that is going through some tough marital times, don’t be afraid to send me an e-mail. Even if I don’t have the answer, and in most cases I don’t, I do know of a lot of resources that might help mend a relationship.

I am going to deviate from what I do most of the time and get a little personal… not sure if this will apply to others or not, but what gave me a clue that I had found true love is the following.

In every single relationship I’ve had before I would always wonder if I could put up with, behavior A, attitude B. Ever since I have been with my wife, that thought has not entered my mind. I am convinced that we can face anything together, but most importantly is we BOTH want to do it. Neither of us is unrealistic to think it is perfect, and we went into it not thinking it would be forever (since we both had experienced it before) but wanting it to be forever. I want to grow old with this woman and that is a wonderful feeling.