I'm doing a lot of thinking and writing in two languages at the moment. It takes me such a lot of time, not only because of the process of translation - and the reformulations by good friends - but also because it forces me think so much.
I have to think about the layout. Do you have separate pages for separate languages? Click here for the Portuguese version and here for the English one. That's how people usually do it. Does that mean I should have exact translations for everything I write? Or should I change the tone, language and even content depending on my understanding of the expectations, level of formality and perceptions of a Portuguese reader and an international/English-speaking one?
Then there is the language of learning. How do you translate language that hasn't yet become part of the discourse of another language? How do I translate to Portuguese expressions like "nurturing communities of practice", "negotiating meaning", "engaging in the community", "sense-making", "being accountable to...", "shaping and being shaped by tools"?
The language of communication and learning is still largely dominated by Shannon-Weaver and transmission models of communication, so in translating ideas into Portuguese I am conscious that I'm not looking for the "right translation" of words, but I'm looking for words that can bridge ideas and that can make sense to different ways of viewing communication and learning.
And as I write this post I notice I am referring to "I". But these thoughts are an ongoing conversation and exploration with Portuguese friends and colleagues who spend a lot of time helping me with the translations and to whom I am enormously grateful. Not just for the translation help, but for pushing me to articulate exactly what I mean and for sharing in this process of making sense of it in the Portuguese context.