Lost in Translation

British Ghanaians will know that being fluent in Twi is a special rarity. Whilst me and my cousins would have been considered fluent in Twi as young children, the moment we entered into mainstream education and spent more time outside of the home than in it, we lost our bi-lingual skills to the domination of English.

Now that I am here in Ghana, it is a struggle for me every day when I have to hustle taxis, speak to older members of the family and generally not get scammed by Ghanaians in the everyday circle of life. My Twi has significantly improved and even still it is piss-poor!

It sets you apart out here. Partaking in social conversations can be difficult when everyone else is more than comfortable speaking in the indigenous language (or even switching between two) and you always need to bring the conversation into English to contribute substantially. Its not that people do not understand English, but each language affords a new and different way to perceive the conversation, to express one’s self. There are just things that cannot have the same meaning once translated into English.

I’m looking forward to finding and watching the documentary by Ortis Deley after it airs. The struggle is real people. Especially when you jump into a new life in Ghana.


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