Like a lot of Chinese kids in America, I have a dad who’s in Biochemistry and constantly has to draft science grants, patents and reports in English. Unfortunately, he never quite mastered the language, so I’m always the de acto editor of his papers (in addition to reminding him not to call my friend Sarah “Cereal”, and that Bookface is not a popular website kids use.) Editing has been a large role in every job I’ve had because it’s one of the few jobs I could find with an English degree. Basically, with this diploma I was guaranteed to a lifetime supply of essays and documents from my parents, their friends, and their friends’ children to be edited. Often while they reminded me what a silly line of work I chose. But regardless of degree, lots of Asian kids edit their parents’ work. Better than letting them send out an email to their boss with “Dawn” instead of “Don” or “the rapist” instead of “therapist”. In his science writing and legal patents, it’s hard to determine if my dad actually has an English problem, or the jargon is just that convoluted. I sort of just dodge around the repetition and words like “polymerization,” “chemiluminescense” and “phosphodiester” looking for the prepositions and conjunctions to save my life. It must be hard to walk around knowing words like that yet not being able to write a clear note to the mailman to leave the package at the door. But the best thing about having an English-challenged parent is definitely the emails you end up exchanging. They almost make everything else worth it. Personally I resort to a combination of cat photos and baby talk to get my point across. And who hasn’t thought of their parent as a cat or a baby at some point in time? Next time they piss you off in real life or via phone, just propose to take a break and continue the conversation online.
Then send this picture if they keep bothering you to do the dishes.
Or this one if they think you need an attitude adjustment. And they will forget the reason they were mad at the first place and as a peace offering, probably send you a patent to translate.