Lost in translation

I’ll be speaking at Women’s Banquet at the church in town this coming Wednesday. I’ve been keeping in touch with the event coordinator for weeks so that everything is well-planned. From food to serve and the speech I’ll deliver (which reminds me how my weekend will be busy). We shared ideas for a successful event (hopefully) and that includes throwing a few Filipino words. I got a text message from her at work and gave her a call during my lunch break (with my phone battery dying!). I was in the car talking to her hoping my phone doesn’t die on me (it’s been acting weird lately because it got dropped a couple times) to wrap up everything about the event because she’s writing for their church bulletin for their church congregation to read. She asked how would I translate a certain English sentence. I told her the translation and she was happy that she got everything she needed.

I went to a Mexican restaurant across my workplace to have some Pupusa. I started reading a book (The Seat of the Soul) when I realized I gave a wrong translation! I called the event coordinator again for a correction. I was too embarrassed to tell her how I switched the words wrong. To be honest with you, Filipino subject wasn’t easy for me when I was taking it in high school and college (I’m not kidding). Both of us were laughing for that simple mistake.

The first time I went back to my native Philippines four years ago, a few people noticed my “accent” even though I wasn’t speaking English. If I speak Filipino, there are times I mix English words with it which is typical to a lot of Filipinos. But of course, it’s understandable because aside from our own dialect, we still speak Filipino (with some Spanish words) and English at the same time.

I might encounter this “lost in translation” line sometimes, but it doesn’t necessarily mean I’m forgetting my native language. Because I won’t. For someone who speaks a certain dialect, a native and  one foreign language, it can be confusing sometimes.

What happened today wasn’t really a big deal but it’s only a reminder that we can still laugh at that “small mistake” and this narrative is something I can share with the expected 100 audience on Wednesday!

Have a fun and safe weekend, everyone!

Gladys Starkey