Saturday, September 29, 2018

Lost In Translation

Language is fascinating! Unfortunately, I am not bilingual but many of my students are. The following, from February 24, 2006, discusses language issues.

We are out of school today so I went to Fry's, one of those mega stores where every appliance known to man is sold. Apparently, they have reasonably priced computer gear because that's where I was sent. I soldier on in my quest to have the Internet plugged into my apartment for my new/used laptop. After a slight run-in with SBC this week, I was promised that my luxury bachelor pad would have juice to the worldwide web shortly. The connection may have been completed but I can't be sure. SBC shipped some equipment to install on my phone line but I was lacking something. I needed, and I quote, an "Ethernet Adapter PCMCIA." Karen Long, our head of technology at Westbury Christian School and my personal computer mentor/guru, sent me to Fry's. I asked her to write it down. When I got there, I simply handed it to the sales representative. He found it immediately. The difference between the two of us is that he understands. The order was written in English but it could have been Arabic or Greek or Japanese for all the good it did me. Kevin Duncan, one of my fellow faculty members and coaches at WCS, came by several hours ago to hook it all up for me but he said I didn't have enough RAM. Of course, I have no idea what that is either. He wrote it down. I am no prophet but I see the future holds yet one more trip to Fry's Saturday morning.

Language is fascinating. On Wednesday, I made my Honduras presentation to Mrs. Semanek's first grade class. Our kids collect change for a boys' orphanage in Honduras. I show a DVD about Jovenes En Camino to all our kids and give each them a specially designed 'bank bottle' to collect change in. I took one of my student aides, Viri Maldonado, with me. I had Viri, who is Hispanic, translate everything I said into Spanish. I wanted the first graders to sense what is sounds like in Espanol. Before I started speaking, I introduced my aide and I told the little ones they were to address her as "La Bonita (The Beautiful) Viri Maldonado." We practiced it a number of times and they were slowly getting it. The sounds are not easy if Spanish is not your native tongue. I also wanted to give Viri a title. People with a title are treated with more respect and she deserves it. It also sounds more exotic when it's in another language! I saw those first graders later at a pep rally... and they remembered! It's a big thing to them as it will be to Viri. I wish I could speak Spanish, more than the few phrases I can handle. I wish I could speak Chinese. I wish I could speak Computerese. Until I learn, someone else will have to tell me what everything means. Jesus explained parables to his apostles. Many of Jesus' wisdom stories seem very understandable to us but we have heard them repeatedly; the twelve were first-time hearers. The more we are exposed to something, to some extent, the more it registers. Paul's epistles are full of admonitions for more experienced Christians to mentor novice believers. Phillip was sent to an African government official in Acts 8 to expound on prophecies about Jesus. I need someone to explain to me the dialect of computers. Someone probably needs me to explain the language of Jesus Christ and his love for us. I might be an interpreter after all!

Applicable quote of the day:
"Language exerts hidden power, like the moon on the tides."
Rita Mae Brown

God bless,
Steve (The unilingual Steve Hawley)
Luke 18:1
E-mil me at


Jon said...

Frys is a very BIG store HAHAHA

JKC said...

I imagine, however, that these computer gurus wish they were as proficient at other things as you are. Your daily posts show the world that you are not only a great coach and teacher, but that you have a way with words that is amazing. You can take the simplest thought and make such a tremendous lesson from it. You continue to be a great blessing to so many. Keep up the good work.