Saturday, October 20, 2012
There is a generation of translators in this country that have more than translating in common. A couple of days ago I was invited to be part of a panel at DePaul University, where we discussed how we got to be where we are in our professional carreers. There was a teacher, an executive Director of a small theater company and I. After listening to their amazing stories and some heartbreaking chapters of their lives, there was something in common the panel shared with some people of the audience. I can just guess that also with thousands, if not millions of Latino children of immigrant parents, they shared: the translation duty. I knew about it, I am sure it is not new news of this re-discovery, but it is something we only hear from the point of view of the “struggle”, and since I am in the business of uplifting the emotions and experiences of people (marketing), I decided to take a stab at introducing The Traductor Generation. The Traductor Generation starts at an earlier age, many times as early as 5 years old and just continues to get perfected, as they get older. These translators are children of hardworking Latino parents, that many times come from rural areas and due to the lack of education in our own countries, they learn English through their translators: their kids. I don’t know how far this generation goes, but my hat goes off to them. They are translators, lawyers, pharmacists, and many times, even function as bankers, and they accomplish all this just shy of finishing 5th grade. The Traductor Generation is one that deserves our admiration. Their parents valued their contributions so much that even at times they get to be lent to their neighbors and family, to perform the duty of translating legal documents or just to take a call from a sales person. I didn’t have the privilege of being a translator, but I know many of them. Some of them are older now and many of them are still in primary school, HS and with some hope, they are completing college. They are kind and compassionate, because they had to express their parents requests and sometimes even frustrations. What these generation has also in common, is the fact that they got to stand up for their parents, I’ve heard stories where their parents told them to stop, but many times, these Translators, were the ones who spoke up for them. They don’t take shit and they know when an injustice is happening and are ready to jump in. I am sure there are great stories that these generation has. Some funny, some I am sure not at all funny. But what they do have in common is the experience in adulthood that not many kids at their age has to confront. To the Translators: Gracias por traducir.