How I became a translator

I fell in love at age ten
By José Carlos G. Ribeiro
(From a term work for a post-graduation course on English translation - 2006)
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At that age the world is a marvelous place. Life is magical and a new pair of sneakers has the power to make you run as fast as "The Flash" or even jump over the full moon.
I saw her twice a week and longed for the moment I would see her, listen to her, be in her presence. Mrs. White, with her gray hair, was my love, my English teacher at the Roosevelt Institute. I would hear everything she'd say with a loving attention. Nothing got lost, I missed nothing. Nothing I could do to please her and to catch her attention seemed to be enough, I always tried to overachieve. Our romance lasted two full semesters, a whole year of happiness.
At the end of that year, not quite realizing how, I got a prize as the best performer of the year, with on stage appreciation, a medal and a book.
Holydays, at last!
Back from the holydays I went back to the Institute, for my third semester.
A new teacher greeted me, she was not Mrs. White.
My school fellows were not capable of remembering the difference between "he" and "she", and I already knew everything the new teacher was presenting. After two classes I decided not to return to the Institute.
This process of learning English led me to formulate a theory of language learning and, as a result, of translation, as I realized the process my brain uses to alternate between these two languages.
Each language makes use of symbols (words) which mean something unique and which has no corresponding match in the other language. This is so because meaning is not an absolute thing, but depends on other neighboring concepts, which make up the culture in which this language was created. It is a mesh of meanings with infinite interactions, and each one contributes with a iota of meaning to make up the comprehensive meaning of each word.
The act of translating intends to be a messenger which takes a MESSAGE from a sender to a recipient. This can be accomplished through language, music, painting, sculpture and so many other forms of expressing oneself. To be absolutely effective, the message must comprehend all (?) which exists in the original and must be received entirely (?) by the recipient.
There are other utopias around …
One day, maybe, we may get to the conclusion that an original work - Shakespeare, for example - is no more than a translation. It is a message, originated in the author's self, being transmitted to an external recipient. Maybe then I will update the line "A translator is an author without a subject" and try another one: "An author is a translator of self."

José Carlos G. Ribeiro,
Sep 22, 2011, 12:31 PM
José Carlos G. Ribeiro,
Sep 22, 2011, 12:36 PM
José Carlos G. Ribeiro,
Sep 22, 2011, 12:39 PM