The Gift of Tongues


– Emily Auvinen

According to the Endangered Languages project, over 40 percent of the world’s approximate 7,000 languages are at risk of disappearing.

This unprecedented speed of language loss means that cultural heritage, the understanding of how humans relate to the world around us; scientific, medical and botanical knowledge; and most importantly, the loss of expression of communities’ humor, love and life, will be soon lost forever.[i]

Survival in the globalized world is increasingly dependent on using a common language, such as Mandarin or English, to communicate, do business or even fall in love across borders. The mass extinction of languages is partially due to the increasing amount of businesses switching to operating exclusively in the few common languages. Native tongues are spoken less with every new generation coming; learning only the languages that prove to be “useful” in the globalized world.

”As cultures and languages vanish, along with them go vast and ancient storehouses of accumulated knowledge.”[ii]

If we want to help protect the loss of world views, stories and cultural knowledge, language diversity needs to be preserved. A common language enables communication across borders but there is also no reason to stop teaching or speaking in one’s mother tongue.

Direct and word for word translations are useless without a deeper understanding of the context by which they come from. If done correctly, the process of translation can be a time consuming and difficult task but, well done, can often convey the original message and its meaning.

Many words and phrases are difficult to understand by non-native speakers. Some depend on the cultural knowledge and collective cultural experiences.

For example, Yūgen is a word describing an important concept in Japanese culture. The exact translation depends on the context in which the word is used but one interpretation is:

“A profound, mysterious sense of the beauty of the universe … and the sad beauty of human suffering”.[iii]

Nonetheless, culture and language are closely intertwined and we at diversophy® are committed to making our products as user friendly as possible, which means providing translations when our customers require or request them.

 

diversophy® has been developing local & global competences across boundaries since 1994. Our training products, offered in multiple languages, are used by trainers, human resource managers & teachers. They are found in academia & in public & private organizations world-wide.

 

diversophy® translations are done by professional translators or individuals who are native or fluent speakers and have a deeper understanding of the language or cultural knowledge. Often a game is created in two languages simultaneously. Games are developed across cultures by people from all ages and fields. We are all empowered and have valuable knowledge to share about our own culture and experiences by continuing to speak our mother tongues.

Currently, one of our most important projects is a game on migrant acculturation being created in a international cross-cultural management course at JAMK University of Applied Sciences, in Jyväskylä, Finland (JUfR diversophy®). The finalized version of the game will be translated into Finnish and Arabic in addition to English. To see all of the featured languages of our games around the globe as well as those under development visit our webpage.

If it is in your interest to have one of our games in a language, other than those now offered, and you would like to do a translation, please let us know and we will be happy to partner with you in this regard. Contact diversophy@gmail.com.

 

[i] http://www.endangeredlanguages.com/about/

 

[ii] https://neuroanthropology.net/2010/07/25/language-extinction-aint-no-big-thing/

 

[iii] http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/lost-translation-30-words-with-english-equivalent.html

 


Leave a comment


Please note, comments must be approved before they are published



.hidden { display: none; }