pow-wa-ha LO25060

From: Ray E. Harrell (mcore@IDT.NET)
Date: 07/11/00

Replying to LO25057 --


I always like it when you speak. Did you check out today's Wall Street
Journal 7/11? It told of AOL's problems with working in different
countries and the problems of translation and culture. It seems that the
people they hired were not adequate and didn't hesitate to take the info,
training, etc. and move to a competitor. There is no substitute for both
knowing the culture you are dealing with and being willing to listen.

I have had very frustrating situations where foreigners come here to train
for a career in commercial music and yet were not fluent in the language
of the music they desire as well as having the wrong idea about the
culture of the music they are trying to work in. Producers are a big
problem. Translators with their own agendas also make it next to
impossible to get anything done. Their mental models are simply not what
it is here and in many cases they can't even hear the sounds. In that
case I am reduced from developing to simply rote teaching phonetics with
an IPA (International Phonetic) chart and saying no, NO, NO! until they
get the difference. If I've worked with the artist for a while before the
creative team arrives for the recording, they often destroy what we have
done and I am forced to reteach everything to them all over but in the
context of the recording booth.

At $200 an hour plus studio time that makes this unlikely to succeed. But
my point was the reverse. Americans must give up this obsession with
English Only or even English First. That happens with their parents.
Linguistically agile people like yourself are treasures and your company
should pay you well for it.

I would add that I now sing non-English songs with a great deal more
humility and shyness than in the past. Obviously we have the same
problems with their great art that they do with our simple commercial


Ray Evans Harrell, artistic director
The Magic Circle Opera Repertory Ensemble, Inc.

"Working for a resident chamber opera center
in every city of America of 100,000 or more!"

> Ray makes an important point. They who speak English as a first language
> have a tendency to find it adequate for all communications in all
> countries. Even in my own organization, which is growing in learning by
> leaps and bounds, the language of business is English.


"Ray E. Harrell" <mcore@idt.net>

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