(originally from February 2008)
Today I got another Down Below news update in my inbox that I had to use google to translate. I wish they’d do their newsletters in English! Google doesn’t translates it very well. No language translator does for that matter, but it gives you the essence which is more than I had before.
It’s kind of like dealing with people in general, actually. You never know what they’re really thinking, just sometimes the essence of it by their facial expressions or their words and the rest you have to interpret for yourself. Why is that? Why is it that people play games and don’t say what they really think? Is it to spare people’s feelings, as we generally claim, or to spare our own?
There is the occasion when we look at our spouse and think “Wow, that is a hellacious tummy roll going on!” or see some random person in public and think, “Man, that guy/chick is hot, shame I can’t get that!” Or when we’re with friends and family, perhaps something like “God! She/he is being such a bitchy nag today!” or “If I don’t get a break from them I swear to god I am going to kill!”. These are the things we keep to ourselves to keep from hurting their feelings or so we say. But is it because we don’t want to hurt their feelings or because we don;t want to deal with their hurt feelings? Are we really kind people or just selfish?
And what about good feelings? We often keep those to ourselves too. I’m especially guilty of this. There are a lot f people – okay a few people – that I really care about/admire/like etc and I don’t go out of my way to say it to them. Just like everyone else, I don’t want to expose myself and have the possibility of a rejection, no mater how minor it might be. No one wants to be hurt or rebuffed and so rather than saying what we feel, we tend to try to show people we care through our actions, and leave them to translate it.
The same goes with anger. We get mad, and maybe we yell, but most of the time we’re polite because that’s the right thing to do. We make a few remarks, we glare coldly, and we leave them to figure out what it is we’re mad about – leave them to interpret what hurt us enough to make us angry because that’s all anger is; a response to hurt.
But unlike German, Google doesn’t have a translator for feelings and thoughts. Altavista can’t tell you what someone else is thinking, instead it’s left up to us to try and sort out what someone else wants/needs/feels, using our basic understanding of ourselves. But how often are people really like “us”? What would hurt my feelings might not hurt yours. What makes me mad might not make anyone else mad. And so we’re left just like an internet translator – with nothing but the vague essence of their feelings and the truth gets lost in translation.
Fav song of the moment –“Sweet Pandemonium”- HIM