Sidekick to your passions: why translation should be more than a job

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What drove you to become a translator? Love of languages? Passion for intercultural communication? Or maybe an inherent flair for sifting through synonyms and finding one that’s just right? For many of us, it’s the profession’s agility and vastness that are most alluring, rewarding, and unique: the ability to pair translation or interpreting up with any of your passions, vocations, hobbies, or areas of expertise.

Think of translation as a universal soldier - a multi-tool that is not only a fascinating and fast-evolving field in itself, but is also a match to your interests; a sidekick to your grand ideas; a lifetime supporter of whatever forces you out of bed in the morning.

Along with the usual pairings—technical translation, court interpreting, medical translation, and translation of fiction—what other domains could benefit from linguistic diversity? More importantly, how can translation complement and enhance your life outside work?

The path to finding how translation can serve you lies within. You have to ask yourself how the unique professional skills you’ve mastered over years translate into your life at large—and find your unique pairing.

What do you like most about translation or interpreting? Is it doing background research? Editing your first draft? Since both translation and interpreting involve multiple stages and rely on diverse skills, you might gravitate towards one facet of the profession over another. While you might not have the luxury of pushing aside your least favourite tasks in a work environment, if translation or interpreting is more than a means of bringing home the bacon, doing what you love leads to a much deeper fulfillment.

What are you passionate about outside of work? In other words, what would you do on a Saturday morning if you had nothing planned? Listen to your authentic self and take some time to ponder this question. Discovering what truly makes you happy—trends, peer pressure, and money aside—is instrumental to leading a happy life. Next step is prioritizing your hobbies to identify those you’re most keen on nurturing.

Find your unique mix. Now that you’ve taken some time to single out your biggest passions, pair them up with what you love about translation or interpreting. There can­­—and should be—an overlap between professional and personal lives, the middle ground that marries your vocation with hobbies, causes you support, ideas worth sharing. As a result of this unique mix bearing your name, you’ll be getting the best of both worlds—fueling your passions with your expertise in translation or interpreting.  

Among many perks of being a translator or interpreter, your ability to spread ideas across cultures and continents, educate, and shape the way we relate to each other will always apply to anything you do outside business hours. Are you passionate about hockey? Video games? Cooking? Start a bilingual blog where you share your favourite recipes; comment on the translation of video games; teach hockey terminology in your second language. When you use your skills as a translator or interpreter to give your hobbies a kick and your ideas a voice, you will create a greater level of satisfaction in what you do all while elevating your career and advancing your interests.