The Art of Translation

“Translation is the art of bridging cultures. It’s about interpreting the essence of a text, transporting its rhythms and becoming intimate with its meaning…Translation, however, doesn’t only occur across languages: mentally putting any idea into words is an act of translation; so is composing a symphony, doing business in the global market, understanding the roots of terrorism. No citizen, especially today, can exist in isolation – that is, untranslated.”

Ilan Stavans, Professor of Latin American and Latino Culture, Amherst College, Robert Croll ’16 and Cedric Duquene ’15, from “Interpreting Terras Irradient,” Amherst Magazine, Spring 2015.

Pools of gold and crimson flooded the front gates, masked by a heavily saturated mist, infused with the scent of crisp cinnamon apples and a warm underlying accent of rich gravy. We were still a week from Thanksgiving, but the vibrant, multi-colored bulbs that had begun to illuminate our neighborhood streets had already ushered in the first signs of holiday cheer. I approached the school building, eyes barely adjusted to the darkness. The sky was blanketed in hues of grey accompanied by the early chilly winds, in anticipation of Winter’s slumber.

It was Share the Harvest, a volunteer event designed to feed the hungry, give back to the community, and shed light on the positive of the world. Every year, my school would take part in this program, inviting organizations to educate and spread warmth, and help struggling families put food on the table. My club, Hands-In, was fortunate enough to join this effort and have the comfort of the school library to give away sustainable products, and stress the gravity of knowledge. We aimed to open their eyes to the impact that their individual understanding could bring and to their ability to shape the future.

I founded Hands-In as an outlet to raise awareness and create change. Be it through the hosting of an environmental convention, the integration of composting within my school, or even the simple act of giving away free gardening kits to the unfortunate; these interactions are what lead to breakthroughs and advancements. Like gardening, knowledge can be given and used to grow a forest, but not even a flower can grow if no one is willing to provide the world with any seeds. New discoveries are constantly being made, but these findings won’t make a difference if they fail to reach the rest of the world. As someone who was fortunate enough to attain knowledge, I have a responsibility to to uphold my role as a translator and supply as many seeds as I can. By giving others the tools to pave their own path, they can in turn spread their own seeds, providing others with what was once provided for them.

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