I discovered my passion for languages very early on. Growing up in Argentina, far away from the rest of the world – and before the internet even existed – sparked my curiosity about other cultures. Before I could even dream to travel abroad, I never missed a chance to meet foreigners living and working in Argentina. As a teenager, I enrolled in as many language courses as I could: English, of course, but also French, Portuguese, German, and, even Arabic for a couple of years. Becoming one of the first interpreters in Argentina with a University degree was a great accomplishment, and it felt like the official launch of my language and culture journey, which would soon become an international adventure. Although I was on a tight budget, I managed to see quite a lot of the US and Europe in a few years. The more I traveled, the more I wanted to explore other destinations, not just as an average tourist adding one more trophy to the list of destinations and having great fun, but trying to understand why things were different from what I knew.

Not surprisingly, I ended up living abroad. I moved to The Netherlands in 1996, where I started the fascinating experience of finding out how deeply culture can be rooted in a country and its people, and how imperceptible differences can fool us every day if we are not aware of them. I continued navigating that path both in real life and – in the meantime also online – to find out why the cultural context could sometimes look so similar and sometimes so different in my second motherland. This cultural immersion process not only meant understanding the Dutch, but also bringing my new perspective and knowledge back to Latin America. With each business trip, new doors were opened in the countries where I worked – Mexico, Brazil, Uruguay, Chile, and Argentina – where things never stood still.

Dan Perjovschi - Panic

All that, combined with my intercultural communication training and personal observations, triggered the publication of a bundle which I had compiled, with many experiences and anecdotes while trying to adjust and survive in The Hague.

Working as an interpreter for Spanish and Latin American audiences in The Netherlands also gave me countless opportunities to see brilliant diplomatic moves and embarrassing mistakes which people make when they think communication is just about words. Words are only one part of the equation. That is why Google Translate may be of great help to get by, but it cannot entirely solve the intercultural gap. True engagement is about understanding verbal and non-verbal communication within a given context.

Communication is my business and my passion. Whether it is writing a letter, trying to make sense of an intricate legal text, interpreting a most inspiring speech or even telling a joke, I love every aspect of it. Irony, subtlety, plays on words, understatements, idiomatic expressions, and nuances can be so rich and colourful! I find languages intriguing… sometimes – I must admit – to the point of obsession! You are never done with them, there’s always something new to learn, to discover. There’s not one day in my life when I don’t look up words in a dictionary. Languages are alive and dynamic, they evolve with our lives, with science and technology. Think of Covid-19 for example, and the array of new words and expressions which appeared overnight! New words are coined as new realities arise, new phrases come in fashion and others are forgotten. The language trip is a trip to infinity…

Dan Perjovschi - Allone

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