I do not know Portuguese. I can’t even distinguish it from Spanish (which I also do not know). At the same time, I am on a workgroup looking for a new model for Methodism with people whose first tongue is other than English.

How is this going to work? Well, I translated a message from one person through Google Translate (from Portuguese to English). Their note made a great deal of sense to me as it talked about the danger of trying to institute a new church with some basic binaries baked into it because of the cultural context of Empire. The big one they mentioned is turning things into a bifurcated G*D v. Creation with an implied hierarchy.

I responded with additional binaries to the ones they mentioned, and my appreciation of the Eastern Church emphasis upon theosis. My response was entered into Google Translate (from English into Portuguese), copied, and sent on to the group.

I’ll be interested to hear if anything comes of this process. Suffice it to say, I’m impressed with this level of communication. I’m not sure how far it will go because of the importance of personal nuance that will be needed.

I am figuring this is not likely to be worse than two hard-of-hearing individuals trying to work out what was said and meant. It will take a goodly amount of feedback loops and forgiveness for unintended slights that can all too easily shut down a conversation.

Douglas Adams’ Babelfish does have an appeal here. Though, its actual result, rather than the intended one, was worse wars. It seems we not only have difficulty with incomplete communication but with that which is all too accurate.

Too bad there is not a Google Translate for the political talking-past-one-another that is so in vogue these days. Without something to assist communication, we are just as likely to end up in another Civil War over economics and wage-slaves. The current pandemic seems to be making communication more difficult with a diminution of non-verbal communication cues.

How’s translating going with you? Internally? Between friends? Enemies?

Beyond the personal, how is translating going with your engagement with the culture and structures that so influence civic and personal health?