Terena Bell ’99 plays important role in MLK Memorial dedication
Terena Bell ’99 has played an integral role in the creation of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Monument on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., and her involvement in the project began long before the monument’s dedication on August 28.
The four-acre memorial, to be unveiled on the 48th anniversary of King’s “I Have a Dream” speech on Saturday, includes a 30-foot high granite statue of King named “Stone of Hope,” positioned past two other pieces of granite that symbolize the “Mountain of Despair.” The pieces are based on an excerpt from King’s own words: “Out of a mountain of despair, a stone of hope.” The memorial also includes a 450-foot inscription wall with passages from many of King’s sermons and speeches.
Bell’s company, In Every Language, a translation and interpretation firm based in Louisville, was chosen as the official translator for communication between Chinese sculptor Lei Yixin and members of the Washington, D.C.-based Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation. From the beginning, In Every Language project manager Carol Reeves ’00, lead translator Di Wu and Bell took their work very personally.
“It was critical that Master Lei understood the meaning of Dr. King’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech since the memorial itself depends so heavily upon it,” Bell says. “Phrases like ‘Stone of Hope’ and ‘Mountain of Despair,’ literally couldn’t get ‘lost in translation.’ So while a lot of our translation work included routine documents like contracts and correspondence, we also made sure King’s mission and vision were translated clearly. We knew that Master Lei truly needed to understand the importance and impact that this memorial will have.”
In fact, Bell and her team chose translators for the project based on their understanding of King’s messages. Each translator had to write out their own thoughts about the ‘Dream’ speech before they were chosen for the project.
In addition to the work her company is doing for the MLK, Jr. Memorial, In Every Language is the only B Corporation in Kentucky, meaning it is certified as a socially responsible business. The company has also partnered with The Center for Women & Families in Louisville.