A translator’s story

A kid wants to be an interpreter first and then a foreign correspondent. She realizes she doesn’t like to be in the spotlight and graduates from university with a degree in translation. This seems reasonably straightforward.

But a translator, they say, must bring along curiosity. Not just curiosity, actually, but a thirst for knowledge of almost any kind. If you’re in for a little journey take my professional development as an example:

I considered paleontology first, dreaming about travelling across Africa to sift tons of sand in search of prehistoric molars, but went for insanely popular finnougristics instead, starting to dream about travelling across Siberia in order to study the morphosyntax of the Nganasan language. I spent hours each day playing the church organ and out of curiosity I took some undergrad exams in art history.

But there’s no future in the arts. Now, let’s leave aside whether languages are much more promising, but still, I made a decision. Since then, my thirst for knowledge is quenched naturally and stimulated anew by my day-to-day work.

Starting out as a translator can be a bit of a mess when you think you have to expertly translate any subject that comes along and no one tells you that this is not an ideal to follow and it’s expecting too much of yourself and your abilities. On the other hand, however, as a beginner one doesn’t even have the knowledge to fathom what specialisation in translation actually means.

Along with professional experience comes respect for the material and at the same time you realise what really drives you, you discover the subjects that never bore you. Never ever. When while researching terminology, idiomatic style and background information I noticed that I had to remind myself that my job is not to study, but to translate, I knew I was heading in the right direction.

So this is how working on projects in very diverse fields I found that I wanted to dedicate my professional time to the the precise, thoughtful language of complex concepts in medicine and pharmaceutics and the creative challenges of marketing.