Connecting the Dots

Recently, I was listening to a pastor talking about connecting the dots to see the picture- seeing a page of seemingly random dots numbered on a page looks like a bunch of chaos. But once you start connecting the dots in number order, a picture is revealed. 

I was immediately struck by this analogy, and as in most things, I see implications for interpreting and interpereter eduation immediately. This analogy of connecting the dots to reveal the picture, feels very relevant to the puzzle that is meaning transfer across languages and people. 

One way of using this analogy would be thinking about the processing of the langauge itself, if we get the main points but not the details perhaps it is a rough representation of the picture at the level  of only 10 dots to connect. But if we get the main points, details, tone, and intent then we end up with a detailed and intricate picture that required connecting 100s of dots. 

Expanding upon the idea that language is a tool in the job, not the job itself, the analogy could be used for that. If I only connect the language dots (let’s say every 5th dot), the picture will be close but out of whack,where as if we connect the language, perception, interpersonal, communication, peopling dots, we get the whole picture in all its detals. 

The analogy certainly falls apart at some point, but I think it is an interesting idea to play with to conceptually get the impact of missing details when you don’t have an actual consumer you are practicing with or the details seem inconsequential anyway as there were not significant negative consequences to missing them – they still matter as the picture is still incomplete. 

Question to Deepen Our Practice 

— What is the connection between “connecting the dots” and providing language/communication access in your work? 

— What do you believe about language and meaning making between people? 

— What else comes to mind as you read this? 

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