Friday, June 5, 2015

Another Request for a Translation of my Book

From time to time, American readers of my book, Africans and Americans: Embracing Cultural Differences, have asked me whether there is a Swahili translation of it, and some have requested me to translate it. These are people who have lived in East Africa, as volunteers or visitors, and in inquiring about a translation, they are thinking of the East Africans.

Unfortunately, I have not yet translated the book, even though I have wished to do so for a long time. I know I could easily do it, seizing the opportunity to express in Swahili the ideas and sentiments I have expressed in English, and I have imagined the translation having its own distinctive qualities, different from the original.

Yesterday, I got another request from an American woman whom I don't know. I am so touched by her message that I could not resist sharing some of it here. I have placed dots where I have omitted sentences or phrases:

....I hope one day that you will translate your wonderful book. It is such a wealth of knowledge for me, and I know my Tanzanian friends would feel the same. Of course most good people would never mean to hurt or offend a new acquaintance, but sometimes when we are lucky enough to make a friend from a different country, we can use a little guidance on how to be respectful of each others cultural differences. Your book has given me that gift, and so I thank you for that!....Last year I went to Africa for the wildlife, but I found it was the Tanzanian people who stole my heart. This year I will return and visit Eli's village and meet his family. I am so excited about my visit. That is why it is so important to me to do my best to not be the classic "UGLY AMERICAN". Thank you again for your response. I hope you will consider writing the Kiswahili version of your book in the future. I know there would be many people who would find it both helpful and fascinating, as I did....

I have nothing to say except to remind myself of the famous Latin adage,"Vox Dei vox populi" (the voice of the people is the voice of God), and seriously prepare to translate the book. I thank my American readers for being so supportive of my efforts.

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