Speaking in tongues

By Ali DeRees

 Language students were able to show off their bilingual knowledge at the Speech, Translation and Dictation Contests. These contests have been going on for ten years now and include French, German, Spanish, Japanese, and Chinese languages. 

Students were given an hour and a half for the translation contest. They were given an excerpt of a text from their prospective target languages to translate into English. 

In the 90 minute speech contest, students gave a three-to-five minute speech on immigration. 

French and Chinese students participated in the dictation contest in which professors of the prospective languages read a text out loud to the students and they wrote down what they heard.

Japanese Professor Akiko Kasiawagi-Wood was a judge for the Japanese students. She is proud of all who participated for having the confidence speak and write for a panel of judges. 

Kasiawagi-Wood said this contest is the perfect opportunity for students to show what they’ve learned and is great to put on a resume. 

She said that she gave the Japanese students an authentic article to translate. After the students translated the text it is given to literature professors to assess how well of a translation was done, according to Kasiawagi-Wood. 

“We would like them to challenge themselves,” Kasiawagi-Wood said. 

Kasiawagi-Wood said she loves seeing the transformations her language students make from their freshman to senior year. 

“We can see students growing,” Kasiawagi-Wood said. 

Japanese Major Christopher Mooradian participated in the speech and translation contests.

Mooradian said he believes studying foreign cultures has made him more aware of cultural prejudices. 

“Maybe immigration can help with that,” Mooradian said. 

Mooradian studied abroad in Japan last winter for three and a half months. He was surprised to see how similar life was there compared to life in the U.S. 

“Life is just life over there,” he said. “I met the same personalities.” 

Mooradian said that the Japanese language is made up of two phonetic alphabets, one consisting of characters that must be memorized in order to draw and read them. 

Junior and French major Leah Sandner was more than happy to challenge herself by competing in this contest. 

“It was a personal challenge for me,” Sandner said. “To see if I could do as well.”  

Sandner took part in the translation and dictation contests. Six students participated in the French dictation Sandner said. Two women read through stories about four times and the students wrote down what they heard, according to Sandner.

French is more than just a language or major for Sandner. 

“I really love it, it’s my life,” she said. 

She studied abroad in Angers, France last year. It took eight months for her to feel fluent in the language, she said. 

Learning and becoming fluent in a foreign language takes time and hard work, according to Sandner.  

“You need to have passion, you have to work at it everyday,” Sandner said.


Contact Staff Reporter Ali DeRees at [email protected]