Lost in Translation

Published: 2021-09-11 16:50:08
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Category: English

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"Lost in Translation"
As I began to read "Lost in Translation" by Soo Ji Min, I thought to myself, "This is going to be boring." Not only were my assumptions wrong, but I actually thought the reading was quite interesting.
In his quest to seek out the language of Chulym, K. David Harrison teamed up with Vassilij Gabov to translate the Russian language. The thing that nobody knew was that Gabov himself was a native speaker of Chulym. The part of the article that I felt was most interesting was that Gabov never told Harrison he could speak Chulym. When asked why he didn't tell Harrison that he spoke Chulym, Gabov said that he did not think his Chulym was up to normal standard. It was not until later in the article that I started to really understand why Gabov felt uncomfortable sharing his knowledge. According to the article, "Stalin ordered Chulym and other Siberian children to attend boarding schools and prohibiited the instruction of any non-Russian language. Chulym was viewed as a gutter language."
Even though the series of interviews with Harrison took place long after Stalin was in power, I think Gabov hid his knowledge by habit. This is apparent when Gabov speaks of his journal that he kept when he devised a system of writing down the Chulym language. The article states, "When Gabov shared his creation (of his journal) with a Russian acquaintance, he was promptly ridiculed for his attempts,..., he threw away his journal and did not write agian."
After reading the article, I started to imagine what it would be like if I were in a similar situation. What if English was banned and I was no longer allowed to speak my native language? What if I was forced to speak a new language and was separated from others who spoke English? What if I was made ashamed of my own culture? Though its hard to imagine, I start to understand why after all those years Gabov still would not admit to his knowledge of the Chulym language. If you are told over and over again that you should not do a specific thing, that it is wrong, you believe what you are being told. And that is exactly why I believe Gabov didn't share the information he had.

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