Lost In Translation

Before taking on my current job I used to do a number of things to help make ends meet, and one of them was to translate from Hebrew to English. One of my clients is someone who specializes in music therapy, and works with terror victims and those who were expelled from their homes in Gush Katif. She has spoken on the latter topic at international conferences (this is where my services came in), and she was contacted last week by someone at the UN. It seems she is to meet with the vice-chairman of the committee in charge of youth and children – worldwide. She called and asked me for some help in preparing for her meeting, which is to take place today, on Yom HaShoa.

“How would you say..?” she would start, and I found myself trying to find words for a host of painful things. “The trauma of being expelled from their homes came after the trauma of terrorist attacks that haven’t been…absorbed.  Many children, who used to be very active, don’t care about anything anymore…depressed.  After two years of living in temporary housing, no plans for permanent housing solutions have….been authorized. Many people, who would give of themselves to the community are now….needy. Many students are far behind their peers in their schooling….lag. “

The last thing she asked me to help translate made me heave a huge sigh. She wanted me to help her convey that a lot of the emotional problems that the Gush Katif refugees still have are due to the fact that they don’t feel that the place they are living in now has….meaning.  I then told her that just finding the correct word in English would probably not be enough to make someone else understand. Most people the world over choose a place to live based on many different factors. Financial, emotional, and practical reasons make up most of these factors. Idealogy usually doesn’t factor in. Those of us who are Orthodox Jews and live in Israel have another reason in addition to the others. We chose the place we live based on the religious commandment to settle the land of Israel. (yeah, that word isn’t an epithet, it is something to be proud of!) Those of us who live in Yehuda and the Shomron (Judea and Samaria) and those who used to live in Gush Katif chose to make their homes there because they thought they were taking this commandment to the next level – settling the parts of Israel that have been lost to Jews for centuries. It is hard to explain the deep emotional pain of losing this.

Definitely lost in translation.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. bec
    Apr 18, 2007 @ 04:44:08

    you cannot possibly explain this to people who are not of the same political/religious ideology. i’ve tried and it’s impossible. just trying to explain going to israel in the first place is a waste of time since as you’ve said, ideology isn’t usually a factor in determining where a person lives. it’s so sad that this situation hasn’t yet been resolved and how many lives have been torn apart needlessly. what a waste.

  2. Lady-Light
    Jun 16, 2009 @ 21:50:45

    I thought I had notified you that I was linking your post in my blog, but I don’t see my comment here, so I’ll just send you the link here.
    Thank you for posting this.

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