Monday, March 11, 2013

Translating on the spot... interpreter training.

It would be my wish that for every book in English we own, we could have it also in Spanish. It is not possible because the choices at B&N are not the best (especially in board books) and I am not a fan of buying books online. However, the Humboldt Park Branch of CPL just opened a little bit over a month ago and I could not be happier. Nesta spends a lot of time there. Today he went there with his dad, and dad reported that they had to leave shortly after getting all their books because Nesta kept going up to random people and screaming at them. I wonder what he said to them? I'm sure they wonder too.
Our library rules are as follow:
- Have fun!
- Get an equal number of books in English and Spanish.
- Get board books.
- Walk around, play with puzzles and make new friends.
- Read non-board books.
- Return books, renew books, check out new books.
I'm a book hoard, I have 15 books checked out right now. However, we have to have some in English and some in Spanish. Thankfully, there are bilingual books. Bilingual books usually not story books. They're the books that have one word with a picture. I am sure there are bilingual books that are stories but so far I've only seen one and I can't remember the title. It had something with sitting on mom's lap. 
Sometimes Nesta really attaches to a book in English. He brings it over and hands it to me, then sits on my lap and is ready to hear the book read. The first book in English that he really enjoyed was Where The Wild Things Are, luckily we had that one in Spanish. The next one he liked was Where's Spot? This book has flaps for Nesta to lift and find Spot. This book was the first book that I was translating on the spot (ha!) This book is very easy to translate. Each page is one sentence asking if Spot is under the stairs or piano etc. The next book was a bit more challenging. He really liked Color Kittens and this book is mainly read by dad. Dad does a really good job of reading this book, and Nesta enjoys it. However, one day dad was at work and the book was brought to me. This book is long, and it has paragraphs that rhyme. It's a cool book because it shows what colors can be mixed to get other colors like green, purple or brown. Because of all the rhyming I could not sit there and translate every single thing. At this point I just decided to shorten the story. I got to the point and took away some of the rhyming because as much as I translated literally it did not make sense, and it wasn't rhyming anyway. When dad heard me translating the book to Nesta he was appalled! He said "but that's the best part with the poem." I fully agreed with him, but I just couldn't do it justice in Spanish and so he took the book and read it to Nesta. I don't read in English to Nesta. Our one rule is that I speak in Spanish (or read) and dad speaks in English and reads the books in English. So, I will continue to translate books he likes to Spanish to keep up with that rule. I don't know if this is the right thing to do or not, but he doesn't seem to notice the difference. As long as his favorite book is being read to him he's happy. We've been lucky that many of the books he likes are bilingual. These are the books that are very simple, and he mainly likes that the pictures in the books are real pictures (not cartoonish). He also can't sit still to very long books. Color Kittens is probably the longest book he's been into. 
My rules for translating books:
-Translate literally as long as it makes sense.
- If the literal translation doesn't make sense, translate the main idea.
- Always translate it the same way (post its come in handy).
-Read the full sentence before translating.
I've taken Nesta to Story Time in Spanish and I noticed that some of the books they use for story time are in English, and the instructor translates on the spot as well. I think I can get away with doing this for a few more years until we start teaching him how to read. Hopefully by then he'll know when he's expected to speak Spanish and when he's expected to speak English so that I can also teach him to read in English.

Some cool bilingual books that we like are: Ruedas, ruedas a rodar/Wheels, wheels let's roll, Insectos/Bugs, Asi me siento/This Is How I feel, Casa/Home, Crias de animales/Baby Animals, Los germenes no son para compartir/Germs Are Not For Sharing, Mi mama me quiere porque.../My mom loves me because.
Some books in Spanish we like: Un dia ajetreado, Las lechucitas, Buenas noches a todos, Adivina cuanto te quiero?

Of course when it comes to books I have my favorites, and so does everyone else. One good thing is that lately Nesta has been more open to reading new books. He still misses his old books sometimes though. The adults in the house are the ones who get sick of reading the same books, so we're the ones who go to the library and get a bunch of new ones. Nesta doesn't get that yet. At first we would be too excited and we would want to read all the new library books in one night, until one night when Nesta had had it with the new books and went to the book shelf and got two of his old books and showed him to his dad. POINT TAKEN KID! Now we mix the books we own with the library books. Duh! 
Something else that is fun is how he now loves to read during the day. It isn't just a night time routine anymore. Yes I do get sick of reading Ruedas, ruedas a rodar ten times, but I also love that he wakes up in the morning and goes looking for a book. He looks at his books throughout the day, and sometimes you can hear him 'reading.' It's super cute. I just hope this book loving lasts forever!

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