As I come to the end of nearly a decade with de la Mora Interpreter Training, it’s a bittersweet farewell.
On one hand, I’m excited by the new opportunity I’m pursuing and even more encouraged by the new directions our company is moving towards. On the other, I will dearly miss the excitement and wonder of working in the language field every day. I can’t think of a single day in more than nine years where I didn’t learn something new. The company I am leaving would be completely unrecognizable to the 19-year-old kid who started his first office job in April of 2008. I like to think that the person I am today is a direct result of the growth I experienced and lessons I learned here. And, of course, it would be wrong to write this goodbye without acknowledging the tremendous debt of gratitude I owe to Agustin de la Mora, the world’s best boss, who took so many chances on me. Working at de la Mora Interpreter Training has taught me innumerable lessons about time management, negotiations in business, writing, the value of commitment, and so much more that I don’t have enough time to put it in words. I’ve spent a third of my life here, and I wouldn’t trade this time for anything in the world.
Probably the most relevant lesson I have learned here is about the function of language. Is it meaningfully distinct from thought? Perhaps in babies, who have not quite begun their journey into the forests of language and yet must still experience hunger, fear, joy. But who can say what their thoughts look like? After all, we have no way to communicate with them. As soon as young children begin to learn to communicate with the rest of us, their thought patterns and processes are shaped, corralled, and governed by language. Language is the pane of glass through which you look at the world. Those of us who are lucky enough to be fluent in more than one language know this, even if it’s difficult to articulate. The world is a fundamentally different place when you’re thinking in French, for example, than when you are thinking in English.
When you dream in a language that is not your mother tongue, the visions and feelings have an unfamiliar quality to them, like a movie sequel with a different director. Rising above the individual scale, I realized that language is the living expression of a culture, a group of people. It’s a tapestry continually woven and rewoven that in turn shapes and prepares the next generation who will work on it and turn it into something new. Language breathes and evolves and touches everything we do and think and feel and see. It’s been the privilege of my life to work around the people who act as bridges between languages, standing astride cultures and concepts and patiently enabling communication to grow out of confusion and misunderstanding.
Your mastery of a language is how well you can transfer what is in your mind into words. How well you speak is how well you think. No matter your level of experience or expertise, there are many miles yet to go on this journey towards perfection, perfect fluency, a goal that can never be reached but must always be on our horizons, motivating us to push further. Sincerely, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for making de la Mora training a part of your journey.
Rodrigo De La Mora