Thursday, February 17, 2011

Lost in translation....

 I have been studying from books lately, soaking up all I can about interesting people, controversial ideas and socially accepted concepts.  I consider myself a student of life.  Forever learning. Questioning.  Observing.  Forming opinions.

I have a tattoo on my back that is Hebrew, what I wanted it to say is "love one self regardless".  I went to a college professor to get it translated, in Hebrew the literal translation is "love your self despite everyone and everything".  Interesting.  I knew wanted I wanted it to say, when translated it had to change a little bit due the different language.  "Love one self regardless", stated in English is to show myself unconditional love, regardless of anything or anyone.  It has a positive connotation behind it."Love your self despite everyone and everything", this said in English has a negative notion behind it, saying; everyone and everything doesn't love you, but despite that, love your self anyway.   When my tattoo is read by the ransom Israeli they often give me a hug, strangers, because in their language it isn't taken negatively to word something in such a manner.  So why is this so interesting to me?

When reading books, if we are to truly understand what the author wants to portray, everything needs to be taken into consideration.  When was this written?  If it originally was written in English it doesn't matter, words were used differently 100 years ago, even 50 years ago.  Respect, Honor, Virtue; these all had very different meanings than they do today.  Look them up in a dictionary written in the years 1800-1840.  The dictionary is always changing and being updated.  What language was it originally written in?  What words and phrases are meant to be said another way?  No words have the same meaning, it is true we can take words out of context, believing them to mean something entirely different than what they were originally intended to portray.

Think back on all the many books we read and learn from.  Famous authors, poets and play writers we study throughout our lives.  Shakespeare, Plato, Nietzsche, even the teachings in the bible that came from famous Prophets.  It could very well be that we are polluting the words of our teachers, diminishing the true meaning of their words, construing their principles and following jaded concepts by simply reading them and not looking deeper into the obvious.  A lot of their works were written during a certain time period; politics, law, society, world issues, languages were all different variables that were just that, different. Principles taken from the past may now be void, of no use to the day in which we now live.  Our information is tainted, unless looked into further and carefully deciphered.  What are we not learning because it was lost in translation?

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