Of all of the unexpected things that have happened this year, I didn’t really expect to be translating once again.
I grew up bilingual, so I guess translating from one language to the other has always been a part of my life. Really, though, I had never formally translated anything until I took a Spanish class last semester that entirely focused on it. As I translated newspaper articles, advertisements, and even subtitles, I discovered that I enjoyed using my knowledge of two languages to share the ideas of others. It was like a puzzle: I searched for the perfect idioms and synonyms with the right connotation, doing my best to emulate the author’s style.
Although I enjoyed the art of translation, I thought the spring semester would be the end of my translation “career.” As I continued my spring semester, I excitedly awaited my Duke Engage Peru trip, which was set to begin in late May. However, when the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic became widespread, I found myself packing my bags to return home before the spring semester had even ended. I was fortunate enough to be surrounded by my family and to continue my education online, but I was upset by the cancellation of my Duke Engage trip. Luckily, I was soon offered the opportunity to create my own virtual project. I knew that translation would form part of that project.
I just completed my first week of a virtual translation project with Audiopedia, an NGO that provides vital health knowledge to women in rural areas around the world, made accessible through audio recordings. They cover topics like nutrition, family planning, child care, and gender violence. My project is to translate the current blog into Spanish in order to make Audiopedia’s mission more accessible for Latin American organizations. With a blog tailored to them written in Spanish, we hope more NGOs in Latin America will partner with Audiopedia and use their resources to empower women.
Initially, I was interested in this project because it combines translation with health, a topic I’m passionate about. Although I spend most of my day translating, I learn more about these topics as I translate. In fact, I’ve been pleasantly surprised that Audiopedia goes beyond providing health knowledge. They truly focus on women’s empowerment. Through the blog, I’ve learned that this has implications on the environment, economy, public health, and family dynamics. I’m excited to learn more about how women’s empowerment can act as a multifaceted avenue through which to improve our world.