Mediate between people from different cultures speaking different languages is like walking on broken glass. Hence, there is no need to look for other situation for a rush of adrenalin. It is a risky work, no matter how good the interpreter is.
Although it is easily understandable, there is an increasing demand for inexpensive mediation. In the age of low-cost flights, last-minute holidays, “all for one euro”shops, even cultures can be reduced to an incoherent slur provided they are cheap.
Let me give you an example. In multiple occasions, I had to explain to potential employers that languages are not elastic. That is to say, multiplication of languages and linguistic combinations does not exist. If I can speak Italian, this does not mean I can speak Spanish as well just because “they are similar”. If I declare that my German knowledge is basic, this means that I cannot handle a financial negotiation, however much “simple” it could be. My conversation partners’ faces have always been pretty frustrating to me. Where they convinced to handle with a robot? Or a walking dictionary? In the Applied Languages world, saying “I don’t know how to say that” is like admitting an existential fault.
Nevertheless, there is a cure for this people’s frustration. People having nerve, they are many out there. Exaggerate Cvs, wannabes boasting about their deep knowledge of all this globe’s languages, little genius thanks to biweekly “study tours” in world-wide Club Med.
This is a linguistic discount, where everybody sells himself the best he can and where danger is behind the corner. As we are afraid traveling with a low cost company, a doubt should instil: maybe not all normal precaution have been respected? Undeceived expectation as it can happen with a very economic last-minute travel. Loss of quality, like in a “all for one euro” shop.
Would you accept to be cured by a Doctor graduated in an evening school where practical courses are not delivered? Don’t think so. So why do you let handle your own business from these charlatan?
3 thoughts on “Languages Supermarket”
Giula — muito bom artigo!
I am an American and looking forward to my move to Brazil — and cultural differences exist at ALL levels. Since communication is 70% of the work anyone performs, understanding the cultural differences — and accepting them as part of your communication is extremely vital, What may be completely acceptable in one culture can be completely frowned upon in another.
Our work skills are not parrallel with our language skills — some associate the two as being dependent, while they are entirely independent. But then again, this can happen in our own languages — learn a few keywords and you have the appearance of a professional, until someone with experience starts asking discerning questions. Then your limitations become very obvious.
And that is the pivotal point for any conversation in any language — discernment. Whether you speak one language, two, or several — without discernment, we are only working with the surface. Machine translations lack any capacity for discernment, no mater how much knowledge you place in its database.
desculple — Giulia, não Guila….
You raise a very good point.
It is totally different to simply get your idea across from being able to fully communicate with someone. However, we live in a rushed world. Many people believe they have no time “to waste” communicating well.
In fact, there are many people who can’t even communicate well in their mother languages… It takes time and dedication.
Welcome to Brazilglobal! I look forward to engaging in thoughtful discussions with you