To understand what I mean, I should put a context.
I just come back from a week of holiday in China. It was awesome, but I don’t speak chinese. Well, I can say hello and my name, but I don’t think it’s enough.
The next logical solution is english. English is the universal langage, so I should be able to get by with english, it’s the second most spoken langage in the world. But the first one is chinese and there is a reason. This reason is simple, there is much more chinese people in China who speak chinese than people who speak english in the world. So why they should speak in English, they already know how to speak the most spoken langage in the world.
So there is the context : A french guy who speak english in China, a country where everybody speak only chinese.
Translation is not the solution.
Let’s go deeper in the story. During the half of my holiday I was with a friend, a chinese girl who also speak english. So as you could guess, she mainly translate everything for me. I also had my phone and some translation app. It’s a solution, but not the best and not the only one in my opinion.
Translation will obviously translate the words but communication is not only words. You send a lot of things through your words and unfortunately, translation can’t translate them all. Communication is really an important thing, I could talk during hours about it, but remember that words are almost the smallest information that you share when you talk.
Purpose more than words.
Even if I couldn’t understand, I could get what was the purpose of some sentences. How ? With the gesture, the look, the expressions… You can get the purpose of a communication with more than words. With that I could somehow, have a conversation or exchange with some people.
Only count on what you think is the purpose of the communication can make you see it in another way. So ok, I mainly communicated with gestures and others, in theory in doesn’t seems that good, but in practice, it is… depending the situation.
Feelings more than purpose.
Obvisouly, when I wanted to order some food and that the menu was written in full chinese, words could be helpful. But in some other situation, they are completly not necessary.
I spent two days with the family of my friend and her family can only speak chinese. However, it was the best days of my holidays, and I can easily say that it was also in the best days of my life. More than words or purpose, I could feel what they wanted to share with me. Even if we couldn’t talk, we could communicate throught that way and it’s the better way in my opinion.
I think we don’t spend enough time on feelings during a conversation or communication. We stay focused on words and their meanings and not on what the person(s) want to share with us. Being able to see deeper than words let you understand a way more things and also feel them.
It was a really great experience for me, it let me discover another deeper side in communication, and make me have a different way to think about it.
I really wish you to be able to have the same type of experience to completely fell and understand what I mean.
Originally published on Medium.