Contributions to HW’s Babel

Earlier this year, when I was getting involved with club sign-ups, many of them caught my eye for different reasons. Either I liked the idea of philanthropy, or community outreach, or a number of other fields, so what I was looking for especially were clubs that combined at least two of the things I was interested in attempting pursuing.

One of those clubs was Babel, the school’s foreign literary/poetry magazine. It consists solely of student entries and submissions of poems or essays written in foreign languages (learned at school or home), as well as photographs taken by students traveling abroad. The two fields this club combined for me was writing (in the form of poetry, while that was a rather unexplored territory for me), and foreign language, i.e. French.

I applied to become a language editor for the magazine, and was shortly thereafter accepted. We met throughout the year to discuss plans for the magazine and how to encourage student submissions, and finally spent a week at the end of the year formatting the entries in Adobe Premier, after having each editor read through each submission and judge their favorites to include in the final product. It was an extremely engaging process, and I even got my two French submissions placed in the magazine, Emerveillement [Wonder] and Il n’est Personne [He is No One]! The first of those two poems is featured in the photos at the top, and all entries are accompanied/followed by their English translation in order to make the magazine accessible to everyone.

I noticed in going through all the entries (especially the French ones which I understood) that most people had written the poems in English and then translated them into French, which somewhat upset me, because that just destroys the purpose and excitement of foreign poetry. Any fool could write a poem and Google translate it to submit, but what I found to be the most fun part of writing my poems was the fact that I was writing it in a foreign language–that my ideas were coming to my brain in a different tongue.

I spent time editing the grammar, spelling, and mechanics of French and Spanish submissions as well as formatting entries of all languages and file types (i.e. photograph, dense text, or graphics under the categories of French, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Latin, Hebrew, and Arabic).

The final magazine came out great this year, and I am extremely proud of the work we accomplished. I am excited to continue with Babel for the next two years, and to apply for the position of Editor-in-Chief as a senior.

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