By Adriana Adarve – Owner of Adarve Translations
For some people in this country, each month of the year seems to be a national awareness month of something. For example, January is National Awareness Month of 5 different medical conditions.
Without denying that these awareness causes are important to most of us, I cannot help but wonder if during such nationally praised months we were to also stop and think of people for whom these causes might mean little or nothing.
But why might they mean nothing? Are they not important to every single one of us? Undoubtedly they are. Nonetheless, these causes could take second or even third place to people whose plight is much more important or pressing to them at any given moment.
During the last couple of months I have received an incredible amount of translations requests in languages in which I didn’t usually have much demand before. Happy as I have been to fulfill the requests, I cannot stop but wonder about the change in language direction the demands have been taking.
As simple as it might seem, this switch in demand comes either from our heart, or it is fueled by some government policy that is pushing different providers to fulfill some requirement or other for compliance reasons.
I choose to believe in the goodness of the human spirit. I choose to believe that out of the goodness of our heart, and thanks to our increased awareness of the extraordinary values of the human race, we are keener to helping others whose differences are solely based on culture or language.
There is no “international” or even “national” awareness month of those with a different culture and language around us. Why is that? Is it because we all know that outside our borders there are indeed many different languages and cultures? Or is it because we are so deeply aware of such differences outside our borders that they don’t seem to have—or we don’t want them to have—any kind of impact on us as long as they stay outside said borders?
I believe that, no matter how we look at it, different cultures and languages will always transform our lives. I also believe that this transformation is always positive. It always enriches our lives.
A couple of days ago I finished reading a book based on the true story of a family from a specific group of immigrants that started coming to this country almost a century and a half ago. Their beginnings here were far from easy, especially because their move was forced upon them by circumstances out of their hands and will.
While life in a host country provides a lot of people with the chance to continue living, it also leaves them pining for their former life, the family they were probably forced to leave behind and the country they call their own; the place they feel they really belong to, the place that made them what they are, feel, think and dream.
To the human heart, there is nothing that can compare to what we call home; nothing that can compare to our feeling of safety and warmth there, where our roots “sprouted,” where our heart was born. But, when some must flee the place where they feel they belong, the place that makes them feel whole and full of dreams and strength for the future, and start a new life in a place where they feel adrift and unsecure of what life and the future will bring, I feel it as a personal sense of love and faithfulness to help them as much as possible.
I am so very grateful then that despite not having “culture, language and immigrants” awareness months, I still have the honor to lend my hand to those who do not speak this country’s languages, but who still need, surely more than the rest of us, to understand what is going on around them, what is being said to them, and how it is being said to them.
It is a grain of salt in an immense ocean, but it is a grain of salt that definitely makes a wealth of difference.
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.