Found in Translation: Immigration Law

After spending freshman year living on Newton Campus, I thought I had mastered public transportation. I was positive my commuting experience at Boston College would help me arrive at work on time at Lee & Lee, PS—a privately owned law firm in Seattle, WA. However, Seattle’s bus system is to Chestnut Hill’s as a baseball bat is to an apple.

Unfortunately, keeping the doctor away does not translate well to showing up on time. In other translation-related news my supervisor handed me three PowerPoints to translate from English into Chinese 15 minutes into my first day (which started 15 minutes later than normal due to aforementioned circumstance).

The first problem I encountered in my task involved finding direct Chinese language equivalents to highly specific legal terms. Although I am fluent in both written and spoken Mandarin, my Legalese proficiency stopped way short of the Eastern hemisphere. Luckily, my experience in taking Professor Arissa Oh’s American Immigration class endowed me with sufficient exposure to the immigration law topics (specifically the EB-5 Investor program) that littered my PowerPoint. In other words, BC got me pretty good at choosing the best option from a Google Translate dropdown and cross-referencing with a .pdf glossary. Who knew a history degree would actually be useful?

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Other potential BC-derived advantages:

  • PULSE placed me at an immigrant teen center, so I became better able to relate with immigrants or those exploring their options to do so. I also gained communication skills, which I obviously now have to adapt from algebra tutoring to client selling.
  • Though not currently affiliated, many of my close friends spent the past year attempting to register their computer gaming club. Through my first hand witness of those events, I attained a competitive advantage in dealing with higher management and tempering my personal expectations.

Written by Ding Zheng, BC Class of 2018

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