Monday, October 13, 2008
Lost In Translation?
Whenever I have visited my friend Joy at her compound outside of Doha I have noticed how courteous and happy the guards at the entrance are. They are all African men, and their English is excellent and easy to understand, which is nice for a newcomer to Qatar. It is also a bright spot in my day filled with impatient drivers and busy traffic. One time when I visited Joy the guard asked for my I.D., asked where I was going, and had me sign in as a visitor. Then with his enormous smile he said, "Have a blessed day." What a lift I felt immediately!
Well, yesterday I went to a triple baby shower at Joy's house for three women in our ward. When we got up to the gate the guard said in his most appealing African accent, "Don't tell me mum . . . you women are going to the baby washing." We were silent as we let that sink in, then answered, "Yes, exactly. That is where we are going." I smiled as I realized the complexity of language and how the guard had translated the phrase almost perfectly, but the slight meaning nuisances made the translation one of the best parts of my day.