Lost in Translation II

A couple of days ago, I wrote about my frustration trying to translate a single word a young cyclone victim had told Paul. Although it may not seem like much, here’s the fruits of that 14+ hour labor:

What you might not see in this video – because I did have to edit it a bit to make it understandable – is the struggle he was going through to find the right words to express himself in English. He desperately wanted to share his story – and I desperately wanted to make sure I got what he was saying correct. In hindsight, a half day’s worth of work seems like a bargain for that.

This also serves to highlight one of the common things I’ve learned about how Bangladeshi rich fail to understand, empathize, or even acknowledge poverty within Bangladesh. Many of the well-to-do Bangladeshis didn’t have a clue what was being said but instead offered their guesses (such as “he’s talking about river or coastal embankments” or even better “he’s talking about returning a book”).

As this experience highlights, when it comes to well-to-do Bangladeshi elites and their understanding of the plight of the poor in this country. Both literally and figuratively, the rich are often not even speaking the same language as the poor.

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