PS - Please Critique!!

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
Anonymous User
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PS - Please Critique!!

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 07, 2013 2:15 am

In Sofia Coppola’s movie Lost in Translation (2003), there is a scene in which a Japanese director passionately rambles on about how Bob, a washed-up American movie actor, should convey the elegant and classic image of Japan’s Suntory Whiskey in a new commercial. Bob tries to understand the director through a demure translator, who is either unable or unwilling to translate everything the director is rattling on about, and so he remains puzzled as the line of communication is lost in translation.

This comical yet frustrating scene resonates with me because of my personal experiences of linguistic and cultural translation. A good translator knows more than just language. Words are simply the blocks that make up the general structure of the speaker’s ideas. The best translator fills in the crevices by considering the speaker’s intentions and tone, as well as the cultural context surrounding the conversation. My family’s experience in the U.S. as immigrants, as well as my time living and working in ***** has helped me to become an adept translator in every sense of the word.

From a young age I acted as a translator for my mother, who moved to America in her 30’s. As a homemaker, my mother experienced difficulty learning English because of her limited interactions with fluent speakers and a lack of incentive to do so. As she grew increasingly frustrated with speaking and as my English skills improved exponentially – having moved to the U.S. when I was four – it soon became my responsibility to deal with Comcast representatives when changing cable services, or credit card representatives at Visa to understand why my mother was charged an extra fee. I became my mother’s voice (and sometimes her identity) in these situations and others, trying to communicate her intentions and frustrations as faithfully as my skills would allow.

Working at ******, a large ******* law firm, one of my main responsibilities is translating legal documents from ****** to English, and vice versa. Ranging from legal articles, firm newsletters, and due diligences of potential real estate investments in *****, I work hard to understand the attorney’s motives and intentions, and to supplement my limited, but ever growing, understanding of legal issues through researching background information. Some of the difficulties in translating between these two languages stem from differences in sentence structures, *****'s usage of an honorifics system that differentiates between formal and informal speech as well as status and age, and ******'s heavy reliance on Chinese characters in writing formal legal jargon. Fresh out of college and thrust into a new cultural environment coupled with a limited working knowledge of the law, I have been forced out of my comfort zone and have learned to navigate new terrain. Having worked for only two months, I have more yet to learn, but my experiences so far have opened my eyes to the importance of bridging the linguistic and cultural gaps between different cultures to smoothly facilitate important business transactions. Though I remain undecided about whether to practice law in the U.S. or in ****** as a foreign attorney, I have realized the importance of being able to drift fluidly between different languages and cultures to ensure the best possible legal remedies. Especially as the world becomes more globalized, I believe that allowing for smooth business transactions between different countries and cultures is an increasingly important skill for lawyers to hone and exercise.

In some sense, then, lawyers translate the legal language on behalf of the public. As I have heard from several 1L students, learning the law at first is akin to learning a foreign language. Knowing the qualities necessary to be an effective translator, I hope to enter law school with the idea that I may convey arguments without ambiguity to ensure that people receive fair and just treatment under the law.


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Joined: Thu Oct 25, 2012 2:10 pm

Re: PS - Please Critique!!

Postby jac101689 » Mon Oct 07, 2013 11:48 am

I hate the last independent clause--not the idea but the construction--but love the rest!

The Lost-in-Translation connection is masterful (great effing movie!). You also demonstrate specific work experience toward your vision of clear communication in the legal field.

The part I "hate" is "I hope to enter law school with the idea that I may convey arguments without ambiguity to ensure that people receive fair and just treatment under the law..."

I think what you're trying to say is you want to be a lawyer whose communication is clear to everyone; you want to do your part to ensure a citizenry informed about the laws that apply to it and a system informed about how the scales of justice should weigh in a given case. Sounds like you want your relationships with clients, the justice system, and society to be empowering partnerships. That is a powerful mission and vision you don't want to bury behind wordiness.

Great luck to you.

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