Jacek Polewski, interpreter: Are you happy?

I'm optimistic, though it's still a bit scary. I've been in London for two months. My brother and I share a room, and I'm not used to seeing a family member every day. I moved to the US from Poland five years ago, when I was 19. I had two suitcases, one packed with instant soup and Polish ham, so I know how it feels to be an immigrant. It's not like being on vacation. I remember on the second day in the US, I went to a sandwich place and they asked what I wanted on it. I only knew how to say, "Everything." The next time, I made sure I knew the ingredients.

It's a good time to be a Polish translator: it's hard to go on a bus here and not hear Polish. I've already been hired by a law firm - a Polish man was the accused in a criminal case. I had to be careful, because the lawyer used certain intonations, so I had to use the same intonations. There's a little bit of acting involved. I was constantly on alert for Polish slang and English legal terms. After two hours, I was drained, but the lawyer was happy, so I was happy.

With its richness and complexity, Polish is a great language. I'm happy getting words right. I've always loved the English word "ridiculous" - by that I mean the sound of the word, not the meaning. That sort of thing makes me happy. I'd never heard it before getting to the US. "Ridiculous" - what a great word to say. It's very hard to translate into Polish.

Thanks to guardian.co.uk who have provided this article. View the original here.


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