Target Language – Teenagerish

I’m a teacher. And I’m a translator. Well, for starters it’s a great second income, and as is well known – every teacher needs one.

But this morning it suddenly struck me: there is a deep connection between my two professional fields. Of course, both of them surround words. But that’s nothing to write home about. In a much deeper sense, my work as a teacher involves many of the skills I require as a translator. In fact, my objective as a teacher is to translate the knowledge for my students into a language they know. Because the idea, both in translation work and in the classroom, is that the words you choose are importance, the order in which you choose to place them is significant, punctuation marks matter. Alternatively, in class, it is the rhythm and tone of speech. In both fields you have to be attentive to the needs of the customer (oh, how much I hate the use of this word in connection with students!), to try and understand in advance how best to deliver the message from the source language to the target language. In my case, the target language is Teenagerish: it has its own grammar, its own internal logic, and its own irregular verbs that change at a very very rapid pace. These changes make Teenagerish the hardest language to learn, but for me – as a translator, they also make it the most challenging and enjoyable language to learn.

And yet, there is one important difference (well there are several, but one that is relevant here) between translation work and teaching: as a tranlsator, I have no need for the customer to eventually understand the source language. As a teacher, my ultimate goal is not merely to understand Teenagerish, but to enable my students to reach a stage, where they are fluent in Adultish.