I had an embarrassing encounter with interpreting my home language at church last month. I am at a loss as to how that came about because I did my home language at school for more than 12 years. And we use it at home as well. I’m still in disbelief that I forgot some of the words in my language. I feel like I need to rant about the incident in this post to you guys. I need a hug!! Chile!
Home language rants
So, guys, I am in the children’s ministry at the church I attend, and, of course, I have other responsibilities. So, as I was busy teaching in the children’s church, singing and praising the Lord. And you know how energetic children are? And a fun fact about me is that I can let my gut down and be like one of them. Yes!! I am cool like that!! So one of the elders approached me and told me that the regular interpreter was absent and that I should step up to fill his shoes. We are a multicultural church, but the common language where our church is based is the language I speak. They, therefore, considered me relevant as I speak the language. Guys, I couldn’t help but agree.
We wrapped up at the Children’s Church and went to join the main service. I assumed all was well. We worshipped the Lord, and then it was time for the speaker. Oh, goosebumps. I went to where the interpreter usually sat. I think people were probably shocked to see me seated there. I guess they started noticing that the interpreter was not present. I was taking over for him. The speaker took the stage and began to preach.
Guys, I thought I had it all together. As the speaker introduced herself, I was cool and got all the words right. Yooh, come to the actual preaching! Guys, everything else went “south”. I remember how I struggled so much to structure sentences in my home language. Instead of interpreting them in my language, I’ll repeat them in English. Not because I did not know them, but the words just slipped my mind. I’d then attempt again, but still, nothing came. I was disappointed in myself. I was disappointed that I always advised people to learn their home language to improve communication skills, but I could not structure words properly. Does this happen to every interpreter? Am I being dramatic? I don’t know, guys. I can fluently speak and understand my home language with ease; I just find interpreting to be challenging. Although it was my second time interpreting, the first time wasn’t as bad as it was that day.
I remember how the speaker would ask if I was okay, but I would give her “I’m finished” eyes. I switched off the mic, and the sermon went on without the interpreter. After the service, I went to her and apologized and told her that I had no idea what had occurred to me. I guess the home language bundles got depleted. Haha!! My close friends advised me to speak my language more so that my tongue would become accustomed to it. I speak English more frequently than I do my home language, even then, I always add English. I feel embarrassed. And guys, just so you know, I attended a public school and took my home language as my first additional language, and I got a distinction in matric. English was my second language. I genuinely speak the home language so well that I simply need to speak more often so that my tongue can grow accustomed to it.
But guys, interpreting is not easy. How do you do it? And also, do you sometimes forget words in your home language, or am I the odd one out? Let me know in the comment section.
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