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The Legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King, Jr.
The Legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.
on January, 20 2015
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Image Credit - Martin Luther King, Jr. portrait. Source - Library of Congress. New York World-Telegram & Sun Collection taken by Dick DeMarsico.

Martin Luther King, Jr. was an African-American minister, a civil rights activist, and a supporter and advocate of non-violent protests. He was a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize for his work and contributions in speaking up against black marginalization, abomination, racial inequality and discrimination in America. Today, we honor a man that has contributed to the American culture, given African-Americans the dignity they deserve, and someone who changed the course of history not only in America but also all over the world.

I Have a Dream

A naturally gifted orator, Martin Luther King, Jr. had his share of memorable speeches but his most famous one was his “I Have A Dream” speech given in 1963, a time when the African-American community in the United States were rendered as second-class citizens where murder and violence specifically targeting racial groups were on the rise. Martin Luther King delivered his timeless and well-known speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C., a very meaningful location for the American people. Although most of his audiences included fellow African-Americans, there was still a diverse group of various ethnicities including Caucasians who had shown up to witness the iconic moment in history. Additionally, there was also a live telecast of his speech, allowing the charismatic preacher to reach the homes of Americans. One could then say that Martin Luther King, Jr. wanted to address the whole nation, regardless of color.

In his famous speech, Martin Luther King, Jr. appealed to racists for tolerance and racial fairness. He spoke about the culture and the hardships faced by African-Americans throughout history and asked to see through his message and to put an end to decades of hatred and violence. With barely 1,600 words, his speech allowed people to understand that his end goal was for tolerance and respect for each individual regardless of history, background, culture, or color. His motivating speech emphasized that racial segregation and discrimination had no place in America and needed to be stopped. This speech paved way for the cries and pleas of millions of African-Americans to be heard and gained much support from the worldwide community as well.

Considerations for speech translations

In order to reach more people, Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech has been translated in more than 40 languages across the globe. In order to grasp the true meaning of his words and thoughts, translators had to take into account some considerations. This is true to this day.

First, translators are expected to know more about the person whose speech they are translating. They should be able to get to the heart of the speech by understanding the context, the history, and the persona behind it. It is recommended that the translator brush up on the persona’s views as well as the way he or she penned the speech. Taking lexical, grammatical, and stylistic levels into account is very important in the translation process. Second, just like the previous one, the translator must have a good grasp of the subject matter outlined in the speech in order for him or her to articulate the persona’s points throughout the translation. Third, translators must be able to follow the persona’s tone and intonation without overlooking the historical significance of the speech or document. Finally, the translator has to create a bond or relationship with the readers as if they were reading the original transcript. He or she must be able to arrange phrases and statements in the same context as the original and shape the translation in a way that the specific language can understand or process. It must not be too formal or difficult for the audience to understand.

Although Martin Luther King had primarily focused on the situation affecting the United States, it can be said that his speech had affected people all over the world who were watching the telecast in the comforts of their homes. The political struggle of the African-Americans left the world in tears and hope.

Day Translations Team

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