What happens when a group of young men and women -- all award-winning high school poets -- come together to attend the Aspen Ideas Festival? They, more than most, are the young custodians of the language and the creative forces of its future. And the future is bright indeed.
Perugia is about an hour's train ride away from Spoleto, and Steve McCurry's exhibit there is fabulous. He is a terrific photojournalist, probably best known for his powerful National Geographic cover shot of the beautiful 'Afghan Girl' with the piercing eyes.
It is quiet again here in Spoleto, and that feels so good. The Festival Dei 2Mondi (Festival of 2 Worlds) ended with a glorious Final Concert in the Duomo Piazza, complete with American show tunes from the 50s and 60s!
The question of why a society functions better when its native language is spoken is a very basic one, with obvious answers. So why then, do so many immigrants, many who have lived here for more than 5 years, not speak English?
Learning a language is a commitment. It takes years to become truly proficient, and even then there will be yet more to learn. (I'm still learning new words and cultural references in English, and I've been speaking it since I was in diapers.)
The Spoleto Festival dei 2Mondi (big big arts festival) started on Friday and the town, its residents and its shops have all been spiffed up; the air of anticipation and the wandering tourists are both readily evident.
It would seem that every professional translator on earth would be eager to use technology to streamline their work, speed up the translation process, and make their lives better. This is not always the case.
If conversation is an art, art takes practice. Today, that practice time is used up screen-to-screen, rather than face-to-face or through composing a well-constructed letter. And yet the reports of the death of eloquent expression may be greatly exaggerated.
As more people come online in various parts of the world, leading businesses will remain in a constant race to keep up with the languages needed to reach the same percentage of potential customers they reach today.
Sicily continues to amaze me. The history here is so multi-layered and so ancient that I, from Boston with its proud and (very) young history, am overwhelmed and find it incomprehensible on many levels when faced with 8000 years or so of history.
Can we still use the term "slut shaming" to describe a very specific mindset we see exhibited from sexists so frequently without reclaiming it? When we use this term are we inherently using the language of oppressors?
People often ask me if translation is art or science. The reality is, it's a combination of both. A good parallel for the translation profession is the music industry, which has been revolutionized by technology.
From my adult students, I hear hectic work stories and anecdotes about their spouses and children, and I've congratulated them on birthdays and babies. And yet, all of this takes place in my linguistic comfort zone, not theirs.