Dragana Žarevac

Dragana Žarevac, Translator
Photo by Aleksandrija Ajduković

I love music and the sound of a human voice and I am luckily gifted with “a musical ear”. So I have always played and sang (and eagerly danced, although not particularly successfully, but I enjoy the free movement). Countless times, I was reproached to have a "big mouth". However, being "loudmouthed" proved to be a gift because listening and repeating other people's words helped me to start speaking foreign languages easily.

I graduated in Spanish Language, Literature and English at the translation department of the Faculty of Philology at The Belgrade University. I got some closer knowledge of languages’ snags during my extended stays in the US and in Mexico, and I learned to imitate "pigeon -English" while living in India ☺. Family tradition required the knowledge of French, which served me well during the eight years’ stay in Paris. Italian and German got "into my ear" during frequent visits to Rome and Hamburg. Lately, I am struggling with Turkish and it is not easy.

I read voraciously and get very upset when I stumble upon errors in grammar and spelling. Many people resented my lack of tolerance towards incorrect speaking and writing. Nevertheless, someone has to be the guardian of the language purity, because language is a reflection of purity of mind.

I was one of the rare students who was not grumbling during the Latin class because, for me, it is the language associated with the magic of antiquity. Out of curiosity for the very beginning of human culture, I studied Vyakarana, Vedic Sanskrit grammar, at the Institute of Foreign Languages with Professor Radmilo Stojanovic. To this renowned polyglot I owe the insight that each language encodes a specific logic of thought. It is my passion to reach the hidden meaning of words and discover the logic that guides the speakers of a certain language. The desire to discover the invisible in the visible and the sound of silence took me to performance art, photography and video, which have been my profession for many years.

Gathered over thousands of years of experiencing listening and speaking, alive and changeable as long as it is spoken, every language is a way of understanding the world. Translating is the ability to touch different worlds simultaneously. Who wouldn’t enjoy that?