Off topic: Have you always known what you want to do?
Thread poster: Paul Adie

Paul Adie  Identity Verified
Spanish to English
+ ...
Sep 28, 2007

Hey fellow ProZians,

I am writing this message as I'm just a little confused. I graduated with a degree in Russian and Spanish, worked in a translation agency for nearly a year, did some freelancing, and am now in Tallinn studying jewellery at an art academy. I've always thought this is what I actually wanted to do, but being here is just making me more confused. I really do not know what I want! I'm thinking of going back home as I've missed a lot of classes, and just feel like a proper plum. It just doesn't feel right either. Hmmmm, I'm lost in Tallinn. Anyone else ever feel like this?

Moaning makes me feel good. I'm such a Scoticon_smile.gif



Anne Wosnitza  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:03
English to German
+ ...
Once felt the same Sep 28, 2007

Hello Paul,

I am a graduate translator; I studied, graduated - and that was it. But what I really wanted to do until a few years ago was to live from my art. Then, I went to England for about one year and decided to study translation afterwards. But after about 1 1/2 years, I was completely lost and confused and seriously thought about doing something else - I wanted to become a silversmith (believe it or not, it's true!). It took me about six months to figure out what was the right way for me before I realised that there never is a wrong way. This may sound pathetic but it all depends on what you make from it: Why not be a translator specialised in jewellery, arts and crafts ...?

Best Regards,


Margreet Logmans (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:03
English to Dutch
+ ...
Hey Scot! Sep 28, 2007

You are not alone.
In fact, I know only very few people ( in and out of the translation business) who ended up working in the field they studied for.
Just check a few profiles here, especially of experienced Prozians, and you'll see many either come from a totally different line of work or are active in something else besides translation (music, sports, gardening, teaching, whatever).

So, my advice to you would be: Stay in Talinn for the rest of this academical year, try to make up for the missed lessons and make the most if it. (Unless you are just plain homesick, which is hard to overcome). At the end of the year, take what you've learned and consider this period a learning experience. In the meantime, spend your leisure time on the Internet, in libraries, whatever. Try to find what really interests you and find a way to work towards making a living in that field.

Me, I've done quite a lot of wandering around, jobwise. In the end, I discovered it had to be language and it had to be challenging and not too regular. I'm not a 9-to-5 person.
You may come to a different conclusion about yourself. All you need to do is be honest with yourself, give yourself some time (acting on impulse is seldom a good idea) and be confident.

Plum? Yeah, maybe. That just gives a lot of opportunity for improvement....icon_wink.gif


Paola Dentifrigi  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:03
Member (2003)
English to Italian
+ ...
Gosh, no!!! Sep 28, 2007

Hi, I was lost in Tallinn as well *some* years ago, reflecting on my futureicon_smile.gif
I've wanted to be so many things I've now forgotten - photographer, journalist, architect, copywriter and who knows what. I've never wanted to be a translator except for a short time when I was 19, but that's what I do for a living and I guess I would not be as good in other professions (maybe in interpreting).
You know, when I was in a Parisian school studying photography, while printing my photos I thought I needed something more intellectually challenging than hat. A trip to Auschwitz made the rest. I needed to learn. Still I don't know if I'm doing the right thingicon_rolleyes.gif, but my mind's working and that's what matters so far.
I know how you feel, it's sometimes painful, but one day you'll see that all your interests will reward you.
Ah! Sometimes choices happen on their own.
All the best
PS Italians moan tooicon_wink.gif


Peter Shortall  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:03
French to English
+ ...
All experience helps Sep 28, 2007

Hi Paul,

I think if you're not sure what you want to do, obviously it's better to do something rather than nothing in the meantime. If you leave Tallinn, what would you do when you get back home? I think you may as well stay where you are for now and get as much out of the experience as you can - unless you're hating every minute of it, of course, in which case better to come back rather than make yourself miserable.

I think any kind of experience is beneficial in the long run. These days employers often seem to be more interested in the kinds of transferable skills you've acquired rather than industry-specific knowledge (depending on the job, of course). So even if you later decide to go in another direction, what you're doing now should still count in your favour - certainly better to carry on than just stop and do nothing for a while.
Although I've known for a long time that I wanted to be a translator and wanted to start as soon as possible after graduating, for a variety of reasons I ended up doing other things for a few years first. At times I hated those other jobs, but there were also times when I found them really interesting. More importantly, the experience I gained from them has really come in useful since, so I'm very glad now that I did them.

So if you're going to stay on, I think it would make sense to make as much of the experience as you can - not just going back to classes, but perhaps there are also some other opportunities there such as leisure activities, if you have a look around and see what there is. What other interests do you have? Since you've already studied languages, maybe you could have a go at learning Estonian if you haven't already tried. If you go back to translating at some point in the future, I've a feeling there won't be many native English-speakers translating from that language, so that would give you an advantage. Even if that doesn't appeal, there must be other opportunities there.

In any case, the more contact you have with people and the more you do while you're there, the more you'll enjoy the experience and benefit from it. I went to Tallinn once, just for a day, and loved the place! In fact I'm quite envious...


[Edited at 2007-09-28 11:30]


Nisreen Barakat  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:03
English to Arabic
+ ...
To be or not to be! Sep 28, 2007

I wanted to be a veteranian when I was little because I loved animals, and ended up to be a translator by peer coincidenceicon_smile.gif but I was always litterature-oriented and loved languages. So i ended up being a translator and am happy being so.
I think the problem is that sometimes we give too much thought into what we REALLY want to be, while one should sometimes just let things flow and you'll get to the right path just by following the wind.

Maybe this is spiritual talking but I truly believe it's us who either simplify or complicate things in our life

Good luckicon_wink.gif


Local time: 13:03
English to French
+ ...
You gain experience in a specific field Sep 28, 2007

Hey Paul,

from what I read, I understand that you feel lost to get away from translation and getting closer to another field, but you shouldn't worry : all your new classes can only bring you new knowledges in a very specific sector and once you're done with them, if you want to come back to translation, it will be ok (according to your needs at that time and what you feel like doing) besides you will be able to propose this specification in your domain languagesicon_wink.gif

You luckyicon_wink.gif


Özden Arıkan  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:03
English to Turkish
+ ...
Moved the topic... Sep 28, 2007 the Lighter side (because, it continues as "of trans/interp" after all, whereas Off topic droes noticon_wink.gif )


[Edited at 2007-09-28 11:48]


Satu Ilva  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:03
English to Finnish
+ ...
Did I know? Subconsciously maybe... Sep 28, 2007

I didn't really know what I wanted to be at the end of high school so since I loved languages (and studied lots of them) AND definitely didn't want to be a teacher, I turned to translation.

I studied furiously for three years and then lost interest entirely. Went to work as a DTP Operator, then spent 7 years taking care of the technical aspects of a translation agency while also working to finish my translation degree just so I'd have a degree, not really wanting to be a translator as such but rather focusing on learning more about IT.

Yet here I am now, with my own business in translation, actually enjoying it and feeling that I have something of a talent for it!

Funny how things go.


Anna Sylvia Villegas Carvallo
Local time: 06:03
English to Spanish

No matter if you spend one or two or three more years, do what your heart says, and follow your dreams!

That's the only way to find one's own place in this world!



Anne Wosnitza  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:03
English to German
+ ...
Hear, hear! Sep 28, 2007

Tadzio Carvallo wrote:

No matter if you spend one or two or three more years, do what your heart says, and follow your dreams!

That's the only way to find one's own place in this world!

I totally agree!


Yolanda Bello  Identity Verified
Member (2006)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Exactly! Sep 28, 2007

Tadzio Carvallo wrote:

No matter if you spend one or two or three more years, do what your heart says, and follow your dreams!

That's the only way to find one's own place in this world!


If a light light catches your eye, follow it. If while following it you find yourself stuck in a swamp, you'll eventually get out of it. If you don't follow the little light, you'll spend a lifetime wondering whether it was YOUR lucky star.

Best of luck!



biankonera  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:03
Italian to Latvian
+ ...
Similar story Sep 28, 2007

After high school I had no idea what I wanted to do and who I wanted to become. I had several ideas - singer, writer, tourguide, project manager.. I spent a year wondering what could I possibly study at the university and in the end went for European Studies and ended up having a degree in politics. All the time I was doing translations for my friends and colleagues but for a long time it didnt occure to me that I could be a translator. But in the end it hit me - thats the job for me because: I can use my knowledge, my language skills and I dont have to get up at a certain hour every day and spend a certain number of hours at some boring office. SO in the end I went freelance and can say with all honesty - it is the best job in the world. For me.:) There is nothing wrong in feeling/being lost - thats when one starts the journey to find where the heart has its home.


Amy Duncan (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:03
Portuguese to English
+ ...
I have known from an early age Sep 28, 2007

When I was 13 years old my father gave me a jazz piano LP as a gift and right then and there I knew it was what I wanted to do. I had been taking piano lessons from age 7, but it was jazz that really appealed to me, so I quit the lessons and taught myself to play jazz by listening to records. By the time I was 15 I was playing professionally.

Over the years, I often earned my living with music alone, but later on, when I formed a 10-piece band, I found I needed other things to help me support myself and my two daughters. So I got into journalism and later translation.

But music is still #1 with me!

Amy (aka jazzrascal)


Local time: 22:03
Italian to English
With experience Oct 4, 2007

That used to happen to me until I turned like 24..then all of a sudden, I "woke up to myself" and bang, I always knew what to do and choose!



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