#inspired Tigrinya Sabrina and Johnny

Every day, I meet a lot of people at my job as a customer advisor. I conversate with a lot of them and it doesn’t always concern work. Some people really inspire me to follow my travel dreams. Welcome to the weekly updated ‘#inspired’ series. This edition: Johnny and Sabrina. 

Who are Johnny and Sabrina?

Johnny and Sabrina are two wonderful people of Eritrean origin. However, they were born in The Netherlands and now live in the beautiful city of Rotterdam. I arrived at their home to help them with severe wifi problems but when I stepped foot into their study, I was more interested in something else. I saw a beautiful script displayed on their computer. When I asked them what language it was, it turned out to be Tigrinya.

What is Tigrinya?

Tigrinya is a Semitic language native to Ethiopia and Eritrea. Approximately 9 million people speak this language and Johnny and Sabrina are two of them. To me, it’s a very special language because of its writing system. It uses the so-called Ge’ez script which is an abugida. This means that each symbol represents a syllable made up of a consonant ánd a vowel. The symbols are organized into groups of similar-looking symbols. Look how beautiful it is!

የጨረቃ ድምቀት መጨመርና መቀነስን እየተመለከትንም የወራትን እሳቤ ለየን። ምንም እንኳን የፀሐይን እንቅስቃሴ ለመረዳት ባለንበት ቦታ የሚወሰን ቢሆንም፤ ፀሐይ ሰማይን አቋርጣ ስትጓዝ እኩለ ቀንንና አመሻሽን መገንዘብ ግን እንችላለን።

Inspired

Johnny and Sabrina were raised bilingual, which means they’re fluent in Tygrinya as well as in Dutch. I was very intrigued by this. We talked about bilingualism and the advantages it can have. And not only did their parents teach them two languages, but they also taught them two totally different cultures. Sabrina told me that she didn’t mind this upbringing at all. “Understanding multiple cultures can only be at your advantage; it’s an enrichment”, she said.

“Understanding multiple cultures can only be at your advantage; it’s an enrichment”, she said.

They both work as translators and Sabrina works as an interpreter as well. They really inspired me with their story. Not only because I’m very into languages and cultures, but also because I’d love having such a job. They told me how these translation jobs work and how they get them. Because there aren’t many people who are fluent in both Tigrinya and Dutch, they always have enough work they can do. “It’s very specific but that’s what makes it special”, Sabrina told me.

“It’s very specific but that’s what makes it special”, Sabrina told me.

In short, I learned about a language I’d never heard of before, I got introduced to the world of working as a translator and I became thrilled about a trip to Eritrea and Ethiopia. Thank you Johnny and Sabrina!

Have you read my previous #inspired post as well? Go check it out here.

Cheers, Thorsten.