Translation is Key

By: Erin Payne


As directed by my English teacher, I have created a small collection of five famous 20th century speeches written by various authors. I specifically chose a wide variety of men and women of different backgrounds for my project, all of which support and discuss a few differing topics of interest. The following speeches included in this collection were chosen either for my interest in the particular subject they addressed or for my appeal to the speaker in which discussed them. In addition to speech's text, I have included a poem in which I have written to give my personal interpretation of each separate speech. Since written and spoken works can be understood differently according to every reader, it is important to decipher your individual analysis of every piece of work.

"In Event of Moon Disaster"

Nightmare on the Moon

The final frontier

A final resting place for two

In pursuit for a grasp at the unknown

Two sacrifice all

Confined to the vast black that surrounds them

Accompanied only by the pitied feeling of their misfortune

Two look back to their colossal blue home

Unaware to the sorrow now piercing the heart of their nation

Blind to the blackened tears now staining two widows cheeks’

Mourning their lost heroes

The country gazes upon the stars

Their epic men now entwined in the constellations above

"Ich bin ein Berliner"

The People of Pride

A single fighting spirit

Pitted against the sickle and hammer

Passive, the opposition stares right through our pain

Reassuring us, they say it is all for our gain

With this, we retort

Let them come

Let them come

Let them come see our pain

This house divided

This family dismembered

And yet, we stand tall

We stand strong

As brothers and sisters

Husbands and wives

With vitality

With hope

With force

And with pride

However we can never reach peace

As humans of mankind

Freedom is indivisible


One and the same

Until every man given, not a single can gain

So until that day

Until it has finally arrived

We can take satisfaction, as the people of Berlin

As the people of pride

Knowing that we were the ones to lead the cry

President John F. Kennedy "I Am a Berliner" Speech at Berlin Wall

Farewell to Baseball Address

A Life Worth Living For

I have received nothing but kindness from those that surround me

I have associated with all the grand men of my time

Is this not luck?

The owners

The managers

The innovators

The players

I have been honored to meet them all

Is this not luck?

A friend to my foes

Renowned by all

The trophies left behind

Is this not luck?

I have the mothers

I have the fathers

I have the wife

I have the life

So, how can one “bad break”

One disease

Diminish that all

When I have such a life worth living for?


"Racial Separation"

Let Us Go

Our people are trapped

Trapped in a vicious cycle

With no means of escape

We live without hope

A life of despair

And in this we turn

Turn to a life of anger and evil

But this is not the real crime

The real crime is amongst the powerful

Amongst the wealthy of our nation

For they are the ones that push inferiority upon us

That trap us in this vicious cycle

That give our children no hope and no future

That lead us to follow our ancestors’ miserable paths

So let us thank our God

For He has another plan

Let us not stop with integration but with separation

For this is the only solution

Let us fear no longer

For we believe in fair exchange

Let us remove all hate and bloodshed

And return home

Deafen the lies of this land

Do not listen to their deception

For there is only but one solution

Let us leave this land in exodus

Let us return home

For this is our only solution

The Adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

The First Step

Here we have a document of many

Though imperfect it remains great, for even time could not lead to the satisfaction of all

It is because of this we support this document

Though it may not be precisely what we choose, we are willing to unite

We honor convictions and will fight for our ideals

But there is a time and place for dispute

We do not give up our convictions

But in order to succeed we must have progress

And in order to have progress we must have teamwork

And teamwork comes with cooperation

So, after a good fight we say, we respect the opposition of the majority

And with their judgement we will comply

But with our approval, we stress the importance of being mindful

Of being mindful of this document’s basic character

It is not a treaty, nor an agreement

It is the Declaration of basic principles of human rights and freedoms

And serves the purpose of setting a common standard of achievement

For all peoples

For all nations

We stand here at the threshold

The threshold of a great event

A great event in both the life of the United Nations and in the life of mankind

A Magna Carta of sorts for all men everywhere

This significance of this moment cannot be compared

For in a time of many issues that made it difficult to reach common ground

We have found such a large measure of agreement

An agreement in the complex field of human rights

This must be taken as testimony

A testimony for our common aspiration

A common aspiration to lift men everywhere

To lift men to a higher standard of life

To lift them to a greater enjoyment of freedom

Man’s desire for peace lies behind this Declaration

We still have much to achieve

But to have these rights put forth

Put forth with the moral backing of 58 nations

That in itself will be a great step forward

We can now move on

We can now move forward

With new courage

With new inspiration

With new hope for human rights and their implementation into our world

First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt Address the United Nations and Carnegie Hall


Overall, this project has really improved my skills as a reader. Translating pieces of work really helps an individual find the true meanings behind the author’s words. Taking their ideas and transforming them into your own words really helps me to gain an in-depth understanding of their work. By actually translating their thoughts and emotions into my own, I am forced to find the meanings behind an author’s work. So much more comprehension can be gained by transforming a piece of work into your own.