Saturday, February 7, 2009

The language challenge continues

This past couple of weeks I've been involved in putting the quarterly report of membership activity together. The report forms come from Germany on pdf files and are in the language of the country. The challenge for me is to understand in 3 different languages what it is they say and what information they are asking for.

I sent the reports to the District Clerks in each country and they in turn worked with their branch presidents, all of whom speak the language and can read the forms. The challenge is that I have to compile the reports. I am learning to figure out some things.

I'm also communicating via email with these District Clerks and with the office in Germany in English. Of course, that is not the native language for any of them, so some of the communication is more miscommunication and some of it becomes humorous. For instance, I wrote to the office in Germany to Eric deMonder who has been an absolute gem with whom to work. He responded to one of my questions by saying, "I will await your feeding." I think he meant "feedback."

Thankfully none of the reports were in Russian. However, I do receive baptism and confirmation reports in Russian. The missionaries do translate the names and information into English.

This week I've written a letter to the branch presidents, in English, with a PS in their native language, telling them if they need help with the letter to talk with their district leaders or the missionaries in their branch. I had the missionaries translate the sentence into all 4 languages (including Russian) and then typed it into each letter. Yes, my keyboard is smarter than I am--it "speaks" 3 of the 4 languages and another computer in the office "speaks" the 4th language.

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