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Translating Lives

An immensely moving collection of personal stories tracing the experiences of twelve people living in Australia who speak more than one language.

(Trade paperback)

Once he stepped off that plane he never spoke in Portuguese to us again. We lost our daily rituals ... I also lost a certain emotional landscape. My father expressed his love to me in Portuguese in a way he never could in English.

Although Australia prides itself on being multicultural, many Australians have little awareness of what it means to live in two cultures at once, and of how much there is to learn about other cultural perspectives.

Contributors including Kim Scott and Eva Sallis show how their experiences of language colour the way they relate to people and the way they see the world. Through their eyes, we learn how language, culture and identity are intrinsically linked. Illuminating and insightful, Translating Lives is an engrossing read for every Australian wanting to understand the complex culture we live in today.


Mary Besemeres

Mary Besemeres is a Research Fellow at Curtin University of Technology. She is the author of Translating One’s Self: Language and selfhood in cross-cultural autobiography (Peter Lang, 2002) and articles on bilingual life writing. She co-edits the journal Life Writing.

Anna Wierzbicka

Anna Wierzbicka is Professor of Linguistics at the Australian National University and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities, the Academy of Social Sciences of Australia, the Russian Academy of Sciences, and the Polish Academy of Arts and Sciences. She is the author of numerous books including English: Meaning and culture (OUP 2006), Emotions Across Languages and Cultures (CUP 1999) and Understanding Cultures through their Key Words (OUP 1997).