My Own Advanture

As a child of parents who don’t speak fluent English you automatically become the translator. It doesn’t matter if you’re five or sixteen that’s now your unofficial job. It can be frustrating especially when all you want to do is be a kid. Not worrying about anything but just wanting to play. However, deep down you know that helping your parents is the right thing to do.

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   That was my case. Ever since I could remember I’ve had to translate for my parents. Whether it’s a letter in the mail or a conversation. Don’t get me wrong they understand it and can defend themselves but that doesn’t mean they don’t struggle. Now I don’t know about anyone else but I actually enjoy doing this. It makes me feel special knowing two languages.

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   Fast forwarding to my Sophomore year in high school I was asked to translate the service at my church. The majority of the people who go there speak English so the service is in English. However, there is a Spanish speaking community that wanted to be there yet needed help with the language. So we had a little booth in the back where one would put earphones on, listen to the service, and at the same time speak into a microphone in Spanish. Those who needed the service translated would wear a headphones and listen through a little radio and hear me translating. Now remember I’ve been doing this all my life but it’s one thing to translate to your parents and another to other adults. Among the nerves I went ahead as said yes. I thought of what it felt like to not understand and choose to help out. I did this once or twice a month while alternating between other people who also helped.

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   One day I remember thinking that I should do this for a living. But at the moment it was just a thought. Time passed and I became a senior in high school and had to start thinking about colleges and a career. I did some research on translating jobs. Finally, I made the decision to study Spanish Interpretation and Translation. And like many college students at the last minute wanted to change my career path to accounting. I wanted a short straight out of college job. But being the person I am I went back to my original choice. It takes a lot for me to find something that I love doing and this one something I loved and  came naturally. 

   Now in August I will be transferring to UTA and studying translating and interpreting. I want to focus on law because I wish to help those who can’t defend themselves all because of a language barrier. I want to give to my Spanish speaking community. Make an impact on others lives. It might not be much but I don’t others to struggle the way many do. So my adventure as an Interpreter/Translator began at a young age but I continue to go through it and I know I have A LOT to learn but adventures don’t have to be short.

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9 comments

  1. I became emotional while reading your post. I can relate to your experience of having to put aside your wants and preferences to help your parents. I had a similar experience myself growing up. It takes strength of character, and a huge sense of responsibility that is rare in the world today. I commend you for having the courage to not only stick with doing the interpreting for your Mum and Dad, but also deciding to use your gift for the benefit of others. I am happy you are working to make this a profession, and I wish you the very best as you travel this path. In the course of my job, I often work with interpreters, and I never fail to let them know how much I appreciate what they do. It is a tough job, but someone has to do it. Bless your heart for stepping up. I salute you!

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  2. Your adventure is very inspirational and heartwarming. My parent’s language barriers were the same as your parents. I chuckled when you mentioned you would translate for your parents from letters in the mail to conversations. To this day when I go to my parents house I am greeted by them followed by, “Mija me les esta carta a ver que dice.” I grew up translating for my parents as well and can relate to you when you say that a special feeling comes with speaking two languages. I think it you have a great and natural talent that many people in this world wish for. Congratulations on your continuous adventure!

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  3. Your adventure is inspiring Claudia. I think that must of been hard as a child knowing that you had that kind of responsibility to be there to translate for your parents. The flip side is you also probably felt important that you had the tools to help your parents as well. I would of loved to have had that opportunity as a child and respect that you are continuing your gift of translation to others. I took a summer of Spanish in junior high at TCC and loved it. In high school I took two years and enjoyed it as well. My teacher was amazing and so fun too. This makes me realize that becoming fluent in Spanish is one of the things I would love to still learn. It would benefit me in the future and connect me to many people I wouldn’t probably have the chance to connect too. Good Luck to you and love your story!

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  4. i have friend that have been in the same situation as you too. and i can tell that it does get annoying especially for children. But by reading this i can tell that you have a big heart because you, as a child didn’t enjoy it but you knew that your parents need you so you did it anyway. also its amazing that you a choosing to continue with it as a career choice since you have so much experience i know you will be great at it. i chose to double major in my studies because i as well know that there will always be apart of me “saying what if” only cause i know i probably will only use one major but when i first started college i had other dreams.

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  5. This was such an amazing adventure to read and to hear about your true passion. As I am becoming a state trooper right now, i am trying to study and learn how to speak spanish myself for the simple fact that a lot of things are misconstrued because of a language barrier. I think you didn’t just do it for the fact that you “had to help your parents” but becuase you love them so much and were willing to do anything to show that love. I am so glad that you are going to college to become a translator because those jobs are in demand and I think you will make a big difference in this world. I can’t imagine though how hard it was as a child to be the voice of your parents in order just to communicate on a daily basis. Your story is truly inspiring!

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  6. This is such an inspiring post! How amazing is something that was more of an everyday thing for you is now going to become your career! So many people will be able to benefit from someone like you and you truly have a gift. I know that many people do not have anyone to help translate for them and I can only imagine that it can be very frustrating for them to go through. You are going to become a real life superhero and this is something that you should be extremely proud of! I am studying Spanish as a prerequisite for nursing school and originally, I was like I am going to do the bare minimum just to pass, but I believe that Spanish is such a beautiful language and it is just as important as English if not now more than ever. Good for you! Good luck in your endeavors!

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  7. I enjoyed reading your adventure. Usually when we are little we think that our parents know everything, I remember every time we received a letter in the mail and it that was written in English my parents would turn to me and my brother to see if we could translate for them. Most of the time we were unable to help since we also struggled with English. I wish I could of helped my parents earlier but now that I can assist them if feels so satisfying. I can see why you enjoy translating for others. UTA is a good school, there is so much diversity and you will be able to help so many people there.

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  8. Wow, I can totally relate to any frustration you may have felt for being responsible for translating. Growing up my role as a daughter was nonexistent. I had a keen eye for detail which proved to be detrimental to my youth. My father treated me as though I was his accountant and my mother treated me as my purpose in that household was to clean the house and do everyone’s laundry. My profession now is an Executive Assistant to a Vice President. Though I love my job I feel as though my upbringing has pigeon holed me. I commend you for pursuing a higher education with the talent you have. I wish my parents would have taught me to be bilingual.

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  9. This was the case for me too. I was the translator for my family, for my parents friends and distant family members that came here after us. I thought about joining the military to translate and be able to travel as well since I love both but if I ever joined the US Military I would not be able to travel to my home country again (as things have been for the past few decades and currently) I know how great it feels to be there, to help be the voice for someone that cannot stand up for themselves. I hope one day I can do what you are planning to do but not on a professional level. Hope you have a wonderful life doing what you love and helping people as well.

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