By Adriana Adarve – Owner of Adarve Translations
Sometimes, culture and its expression do not require the use of the spoken language. While culture can be expressed in many different ways, a special one that comes to mind at this moment is dance. Dance, one of the expressions of human movement, has artistic and symbolic value within each particular culture, and it is permanently available to us.
Through dance, a wonderful world opens in front of our eyes, a world that we are then able to share with others. Dance itself is translation. It represents a process of moving things from one place to another, be it our feet, our waist, our hips, arms, hands and head.
Dancing is the expression of our whole being to the rhythm of some sound we call music; an expression that allows us to show where we come from or where we have been. Dance, as a cultural expression of our selves is more than the mere shuffling of feet and swaying of hips and arms. It is an essential part of our lives that conveys many deeper aspects of our respective cultures.
Dance is then the translation of our world: who we are, what we feel, what we enjoy, and how we enjoy it.
In many cases, people from different cultures try to imitate the steps of a given dance coming from other traditions. Whether with conscious knowledge or not, we try to immerse ourselves in a culture we find attractive and, perhaps, intriguing.
They say dancing is an expression of the soul, of one’s self. And, when we dance, we express the desires, thoughts, and emotions of our inner self; we express feelings that are deep rooted in our personal and collectively distinct worlds. When we dance within our own cultural group, we are, through our common dance movements, translating our inner self and sharing part of who we are with our dance partners. Dancing in the midst of people from other cultures who are sharing their dances, we are translating the knowledge of the dance they are sharing with us into our new way of life; we are getting glimpses of this new world, the world they are sharing with us.
When others dance our dances, whether they understand the lyrics they are dancing to or not, they are adopting part of our culture into their own and at the same time transferring their own into ours. It is an integration of diverse worlds: who we are, what we like, where we come from, where our cultural roots are.
Translation is, in many ways, much like dancing. It allows us to open the door to new worlds, to drink and learn from them, to accept, adapt to and integrate them into our own. It also allows others to see our world, our way of life, and to share with us what they have to offer. Translation, like dance, opens the doors to exchange, compassion, understanding, joy and a whole new way of living.
Culturally sensitive translations are like a dance that opens our spirit and carries us far: They are like a dancer adapting to the dance of another, a dancer adapting to the steps and the rhythm of his/her dance partner.
Have a nice dance,
Adriana Adarve, Asheville, NC
About the Author: Adriana Adarve is the owner of Adarve Translations and is fluent in three languages (English, Spanish & French), as well as pluri-cultural, multi-cultural, plurilingual and multilingual.