The moment we speak, we translate. Even if it’s our mother tongue, we are adapting internal emotions into words. The mistake people tend to make when learning a new language is that they try to transfer their way of thinking in their first language into the new one, and it all ends up a huge muddle. The longer you learn languages, the more you realise that this doesn’t work. What you learn is that even if you only have 50, or 100, words in your new language, these are the words you have to use to express yourself. And it’s incredible what you can say with such a small pool of words.
James Tookey interviews Meike Ziervogel of Peirene Press.