Professional Development: A Journey of a Thousand Miles?

This whole past week, mother nature has been sending me hidden messages that I need to broaden my horizons. It all started in Pedagogy class a few days ago when a classmate – an established professional no less – talked about what she saw as essential characteristics of the professional translator. She said, and I paraphrase, “You must be a lateral thinker. Why is this? Because everyone has their own perspective, and you cannot assume that what you see in your narrow field of vision is the truth. In fact, everyone has their own version of the truth.”

Apparently this is even more evident in the translation profession, especially when you are dealing with clients who know very little about what the process of translating actually involves. Essentially, it comes down to attitude. If you present a confident, positive and proactive approach in your professional dealings, then you will naturally build up positive relationships with your clientele. Whilst those words of wisdom certainly ring true to me, I can’t help but feel professional life is a lot more complex than that. That is why I scoured the uni library today, looking for books that might help me on my journey towards becoming a professional translator.

To start with, I’m reading Douglas Robinson‘s Becoming a Translator: An Accelerated Course, but I have many more on hold. What I think will be my biggest obstacle will be the more business-related things – how to write up invoices, budgets, mission statements, market analyses, etc. I’ve never had an ambition to be a business person, but if I want to be a freelance, these things must be learnt. It is exciting though, as I will be learning a lot new things.

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