What I Want to Be When I Grow Up

I know what I want to do.

I want to become a translator.

I went to talk to the M.A. adviser today, who, when we got on the subject of translation work, said “You know what might be very useful? Energy efficiency. This is becoming a very big deal, and there might be a call for translators in this field.” This caught my attention.

And the thought that cemented this idea was this: All during the M.A. program, what has kept my attention in every subject has been translation. I took myriad (almost literally!) courses that involved translation, and those were the classes I looked forward to the most. Old Saxon, Yiddish, Old French, Middle High German, Old Norse, Latin: They all got me, every one, and the other classes did not, with very very few exceptions.

So: Do What You Love. –> I Love Translating. –> Become a Translator.

That switch in my head went off today, and it said: “This is the difference between hoping I’ll become something and purposefully setting out to become something.” I am purposefully setting out to become a translator. For now I have a part time job, which will give me a place to be about half of the week, and get me out of bed early in the morning, when I’m at my best. On those days I’ll get physical work, be around people, and earn enough to live off of; the other days I’ll be dividing between my night gig (web design, because it’s fun) and Becoming a Translator.

I even have a plan on How to Get There:

  1. Continually improve my general vocabulary.
  2. Begin reading articles on renewable energy/energy efficiency.
  3. Collect subject-specific terminology with annotations and sources (see also, writing a dictionary).
  4. Stay abreast of demand in the translation market (starting with places like ProZ dot com.
  5. Translate articles (German English) for practice + portfolio
  6. Begin submitting quotes for translation jobs as I am able.
  7. Go from there.

I should reasonably be able to spend one day a week translating, even with a full time schedule. When my job goes back to official part time (after the woman who’s job I’m covering comes back from maternity leave), I should be able to up that to two days.

This feels right. This looks like a good plan, and what I need to do. More, as my father says, will be revealed.

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