Korean-English Dictionary

Out of all the memories I have from growing up as an immigrant, I chose to use the picture of a Korean-English dictionary. Although nowadays we have smartphones or computers that has Google to use as a dictionary instead, when I was seven years old I had to use this dictionary that had size 8-10 font to translate to my parents the paperwork they would receive. The paperwork would consist of documents from our lawyer, government forms; sign up sheets for credit cards or legal contracts for an apartment and car. Back then; we couldn’t afford a computer or translator device to make our lives easier. My parents were very non-traditional Asian parents to put all their trust in me for such an intricate task that would take me hours at a time to decipher. I remember the nights I would sit under a lamp highlighting, underlining and writing in the dictionary and the specific document so my parents can understand it in Korean. I am still shocked to this day my seven-year-old self was able to help my parents in a new country they were foreign to by simply translating for them to get a start on the “American life.” Sometimes I wonder if translating for them was a mental exercise they planned so that my English could improve.

Year: 1999

– SB

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