I first became aware of Andrei Codrescu, an English professor at Louisiana State University and NPR commentator, from reading his book, “Ay, Cuba!” Being raised in Romania and moving to the United States in 1966, he has always had his feet in many different worlds.
Blogging about the different music forms and cultures making up the Twin Cities, I realize how different we are but also how awesome and deep each culture can be. It’s also impressive how online, people from as far away as Finland, the United States, and Africa can be brought together and realize how much we all have in common.
With all the sharing and the flattening of the world through computers understanding different nuances between cultures becomes more important to avoid confusion and conflicts. Without understanding nuances, things get lost in translation. This was the point of a recent commentary by Codrescu on NPR.
“The last jobs that only humans can accomplish is that of translation. Machines cannot translate no matter how smart we make them. The slightest nuance of a nuance and the machine mistranslates. That said even humans don’t translate very well. Millions of people have fallen in the gaps between words and are never seen again…”
“All languages are the story of differences. The people of the valley spoke different than the people of the mountain, because one the valley shaped them physically and spoke through them, and two they did not wish the people of the mountain to understand them”