Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Moments That Excite Me
A month or so ago someone crossed my path who spoke very little English. Having had 3 years of Spanish in high school and having visited Mexico City over 30 years ago, I immediately rose to the challenge of trying to communicate with this person. I discovered very quickly that this person lived in Spain (yes, the country .... not another little town somewhere in Texas). So from that point, my interest piqued in trying to communicate with this person.
In the beginning, our conversation pretty much consisted of "hola, muy bien, gracias, and no lo se" (hello, very good, thank you, and I don't know). In an attempt to alleviate the frustration we both were feeling from our mutual inability to understand each other, I initially tried to find a Web 2.0 tool to allow us to communicate through the use of a translator. I discovered that Google has a translator application and helped my friend to learn to use this tool as well. The application allowed me to type in English and it would translate my words immediately into Spanish for my friend. Eureka! We are now understanding each other !
I learned that Javier had a strong desire to learn to speak English. Eugenia speaks a little English from her years in Mexico City, but Javier's English was minimal at best. Communicating in text only was not helping Javier improve his English skills. He needed to be able to hear and repeat the English words he was reading and studying in his English textbook. Now Google Translator will also enable you to hear the words in the new language, but what we discovered was that sometimes phrases do not translate into another language in a way that makes clear sense. Example: When I would say the word "blessings" to Jaiver, it would come out "benedictions", which of course does not have the same connotation in English at all. So it is better to have a person who speaks English who can deliever and facilitate the instruction.
These are the moments that excite me! Technology tools have the ability to change lives and benefit people in incredible ways. We take so many of the powerful tools we have at our disposal for granted. Seeing somone be able to broaden their horizons and achieve their goals inspires me to go out there and make more new friends and venture into the unexplored worlds around me.