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Catching up on my correspondences and some of the writing work. I got a nibble from a Japanese translation company I applied to last week. For the curious, my translation pairs are Malay or Indonesian to English and English or Indonesian to Malay. It's strange, but apart from my current Business English work, the only other company that has shown interest in me has also been Japanese. Maybe, it's a sign? Of course, applying for translation work comes with the part where I need to prove I am bilingual. Most of my resumes hinge on the idea I've had 17 years of bilingual education in English and Malay, including postgraduate study. But I can see how it's bizarre for me to cite my two languages as English and Malay, since neither one of my parents are from the traditional Caucasian backgrounds. Going by genetics, it would be more plausible for me to tell people I'm bi/tri/quadlingual in Malay and a few Chinese dialects. That'd be the day though. My Chinese, in any of the dialects I know, is just terrible. Add to that, I haven't been raised in any of the traditionally English-speaking countries. My entire English knowledge is based on books and the fact English is spoken in my home. Would you know I wasn't a native English speaker if I told you? Would you know I wasn't a native English speaker if you spoke to me? It's times like this that make me wonder.

As if that weren't bad enough, my accent would hit me on the head for a job that required me to speak. It's fine if I needed to merely switch between American and British English in writing (case in point, I tend to prefer British spellings). On the other hand, ask a Malaysian what I sound like and they would tell you I sound American. Ask a European what I sound like and I sound American. Ask an American what I sound like, and you get all kinds of Continental combinations. I guess the general consensus is that I speak American. It's one of my long-standing angsts, yes. Because I spent my childhood fending off accusations that my accent was fake, or put on, or just being pointed out for sounding different, it still bothers me a lot. And here's my other problem: given a choice of native languages, I'm more native in English than I am in Malay. Now, how do I go around proving that?

Just for fun, the translation company's automated filing system has berated me for citing two target languages because very few people out there are truly bilingual. I'll need to post them a note.


May. 10th, 2006 04:26 pm (UTC)
Now, I'm much too curious to hear what you sound like. :)
May. 11th, 2006 08:55 pm (UTC)
Reeeeeeeaaaaally? You reeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaally want to hear me? ;)

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