Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year! − ¡Feliz Año Nuevo!

A new year is yet another marking in our linear metaphor of life. The measure of time is supposed to help us feel in control of our reality. After all, time is a man-made construct to frame our life...or rather our outlook on life, because life happens whether we are aware of it or not.

Language is one of the few collective expressions of life and the only one with enough bandwidth to encompass humans' full range of ideas, emotions and affirmations. Yes, there's graffiti, diverse forms of art and music to convey similar richness of life, but only language −texts, that is, is powerful enough to convey messages for communication.

While speech synthesizes thought into useful units of understanding, only text can imprint speech with permanence. Writing with permanence in mind is difficult and time consuming. It is supposed to take a long time because its byproduct is expected to last a long time as well. Why shouldn't translations be any different?

In this day and age of commoditization of anything that has any value for civilization, can we commoditize ideas, thoughts, texts? Doesn't a well-written text −or its translation− hold intrinsic artistic value besides communicative value? May the comforting power of the written word and its value hold your hand steady one more year.

Mario Chávez

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