To say that raising a child to be bilingual in the Mountain West region of the US is hard, is an understatement. The homogeneity of the population and culture doesn’t lend to diverse languages. In our home, you’ll hear English or Spanish almost daily, among others on a less regular basis. We love languages! And we’ve done our best to instill that love in our son (nearly 4 yrs old), el Güerito. Yesterday, we witnessed his biggest bilingual success so far!
I love languages. Since I was young and in elementary (primary) school, I’ve been fascinated by them. The first time I realized there were other languages in the world was when I was in my school’s library and the teacher was reading a book about Ireland to us. I learned about Irish Gaelic and immediately began looking for any books I could find there about the language. Sadly, but not unsurprising, there were no dictionaries or other books on learning Irish in my elementary school in Roy, UT, USA or even in my middle and high (secondary) schools Rawlins, WY, USA. I did, however, come to embrace Spanish while in school, as I felt there would certainly be a reason for me to learn the language and I would have many opportunities in the future to use it.
This week I returned from Lima, Peru, where we held a localization hackathon and invited active members of the Mozilla localization community in Latin America to attend. Being in Lima with these Mozillians was like getting together with a group of old friends, even though I was meeting some of them in person for the first time. We laughed, we joked, we had deep discussions, and best of all, we worked. We translated strings, reorganized community translation workflows, tested localized versions of Firefox, and planned for upcoming releases of new localizations. It was maravilloso!
Latin America holds a very special place in my heart, as with other regions of the world that I’m regularly involved in. Being a Spanish-speaker, the more I’ve learned about the cultures of Latin America, the more endeared the region is to me. I do whatever I can to help and mentor the localization communities within the region. I visit whenever possible, translate projects when needed for both Mozilla and other open source projects (sorry Fuser, I’m part of the reason there’s never anything to translate for the es-MX iOS project ;-) ). I also recruit new volunteers for Mozilla l10n communities in LATAM and work to improve my cultural understanding of the region as a whole and as individual areas by maintaining my Spanish, learning Brazilian Portuguese, and reading A LOT.