| 09.01.10 | Wednesday
"To translate or not to translate?"
That's the question that is currently being debated by pageant fans on the Internet - this in the light of Miss Philippines Venus Raj's allegedly skewed response to her question during the finals of Miss Universe 2010. Judge William Baldwin asked her the following question: ""What is one big mistake you made in your life and what did you do to make it right?" Venus's response: "You know what, sir, in my 22 years of existence, I can say there is nothing major, major - I mean, problems - that I have done in my life, because I am very confident with my family with the love that they are given to me. So... Thank you so much that I am here! Thank you, thank so much!"
Some critics argue that if Venus had asked for an interpreter (Filipino being her native language), then she could've given a "better" response. But as I had suggested in my earlier blog entry, all speculation is purely immaterial because no one else knows Venus but herself and that no one knows what's going on in her mind except herself. In a recent interview on Philippine TV, Venus had been asked by MUO if she would need an interpreter, to which she said no. There was no need for one because she already spoke fluent English. English is the official language of instruction in the Philippines, and even though less than half of the Filipino population speak English fluently, well-educated Filipinos like Venus should be able to carry on a decent conversation in English with foreigners. Setting aside the run-of-the-mill syntax of Venus's statement, her English was passable in the sense that she was understood, at least by those who speak English. Her rather emotional delivery is reflected on her excitement of having reached the finals, compounded by the thunderous cheers and applause she was getting from her compatriots in the audience.
If Venus had answered in Filipino, and considering the fact that she was emotionally overwhelmed, she still might have generated the same response. Besides, excellent translation is never guaranteed, and the "best" answers do not always guarantee a victory. The following Puerto Rican beauties - whose native language is not English and whose delivery was not always stellar - all won the Miss Universe crown by responding in English: Marisol Malaret (1970), Deborah Carthy Deu (1985), and Denise Quiñones (2001). Add to this roster Miss Universe 1991 from Mexico, Lupita Jones, Miss Universe 2008 Dayana Mendoza from Venezuela and the two Miss Universe winners from the Philippines - Gloria Diaz (1969) and Margarita Moran (1973). And of course, one cannot forget Melanie Marquez who - in her most bizarre and comical English - won the third Miss International crown for the Philippines in 1979. These women did not use translators to convey their responses. They won not because of the content of their answers, but because they were confident enough to answer in English. Apparently, Venus shared the same confidence as these winners.
So to answer the question, "To translate or not to translate?" - ask for an interpreter if you feel you're not confident enough to answer in English. If you feel that you have enough confidence, then skip the interpreter and answer in your best English - spontaneously, smilingly, and "major major" sincerely. That's all I have to say. Thank you! LOL