Do You Ever Feel Lost in Translation?

Do you know anyone that is bilingual? Are you bilingual? Have you ever heard the expression, “lost in translation?” Let me give you an example of lost in translation. In English you can say, “The projector is running.” If you translate those words directly into a different language it may say the projector literally has legs and it is running. English speakers know this figure of speech simply means the projector is on. There is a difference between direct translation and translating the sentiment or meaning of the words.

I often feel misunderstood. I feel like I am speaking a different language. I have been seen as negative, pessimistic, argumentative, a know-it-all, etc. Now in part, this is the communication style I learned growing up so there have been times when this assessment has been correct. That is hard to admit but it is the truth. I am sorry about this and in an effort to make amends I am working to learn a better way of communicating. However, there have been many times when my intentions are very good and still I was seen in a negative light.

One of the things Al-Anon has taught me is that my father did indeed love me even though he was never able to tell me or show me in the way I needed him to. Today I am able to see love and support in words where I had only seen “not good enough” in those exact same words.

Knowing that is true, than it is also possible people hear the negative in me when in fact I am being positive and supportive. This week I had success telling someone the purpose of my words and stating clearly that my words were not criticism. It is important to note I was not trying to convince, change control another person. I was not saying I was right and they were wrong. It wasn’t a justification of negativity and there was no blame, but there was a clear and purposeful intent that if addressed would result in a positive outcome.

I don’t know if this approach will work every time or in every situation. It may be the person receiving my words was ready to hear them. But it is something to keep in mind.

A positive outcome can be achieved after acknowledging something is not perfect if we are able to see it as an opportunity. I am not perfect, but I am working to be better than I was yesterday.


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