Poll: How old were you when you decided to become a translator/interpreter?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 06:25
SITE STAFF
Aug 14, 2009

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "How old were you when you decided to become a translator/interpreter?".

This poll was originally submitted by Andrzej Niewiarowski

View the poll here

A forum topic will appear each time a new poll is run. For more information, see: http://proz.com/topic/33629


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Oliver Lawrence  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 15:25
Partial member (2008)
Italian to English
+ ...
... Aug 14, 2009

Results so far suggest that half of respondents decided to become a translator when under 25. This surprises me a bit, perhaps it's a reflection of the recent growth in translation university courses. Anecdotally I know of quite a few translators who, like me, moved into translation after one or more previous careers.

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Hilary Davies Shelby
United States
Local time: 08:25
German to English
When choosing my Standard Grade subjects Aug 14, 2009

I think the way the UK curriculum is (or was!) structured "forces" pupils to make future career choices early - perhaps too early. I was about 14 when I chose to "do something" with languages and picked French, German, Russian and Spanish as 4 of my 8 Standard Grade subjects.

Luckily my love of languages stayed with me and I decided to become an interpreter aged 17. (Obviously I ended up becoming a translator, but could still interpret if I chose to.) I know other people who took all three sciences, intending to become vets and doctors, and then completely changed their minds when they reached university age...


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Darío  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:25
English to Spanish
+ ...
... Aug 14, 2009

Haven't decided it yet...



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María Eugenia Wachtendorff  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 11:25
English to Spanish
+ ...
Factory preset Aug 14, 2009

I was born to do this!

Cheers


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Phillippa May Bennett
Portugal
Local time: 14:25
Member
Portuguese to English
Well.. Aug 14, 2009

I knew I wanted to study languages from around the age of 14/15, but being a translator had most definitely not crossed my mind.

I didn't really "decide" that it was for me until I spent a year working as a researcher for an NGO, but became their translator by default!That was when I'd left university aged 23.... from then on I realised how much I loved it!


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Mark Thompson  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 11:25
Member
Portuguese to English
Old man Steptoe Aug 14, 2009

Imagine the theme tune to Steptoe and Son, that's what crossed my mind when I saw that I was in the minority having started translating and interpreting at 36!

My love for languages matured over many years like a fine wine, and after military, police and teaching careers I made the move. Life and travel experience has definitely helped me in this profession. Right now I'm working on a document about helicopters, so my years in the Army Air Corps are back with me...

Well, 41 now and still learning every day which is fantastic!

Anyway, 41 is the new 21.........! Get back to work you young whippersnappers! I'll be available to tell war stories at the conference in SP later this month.

Mark

[Edited at 2009-08-14 17:37 GMT]


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Ditto Aug 14, 2009

María Eugenia Wachtendorff wrote:

I was born to do this!

Cheers


Yes cheers!
"When you like it, you are good at it" ....... Japanese old cliche.
When started is therefore totally immaterial.

[Edited at 2009-08-14 21:43 GMT]


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María Eugenia Wachtendorff  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 11:25
English to Spanish
+ ...
Hello, Humbird Aug 15, 2009

I started reading old English literature all by myself, when I was ten. The books were my mom's, who got married right after graduating, had five children in a row, and never got to teach anyone --but me!

I devoured book after book after book, with mom's old Merriam-Webster dictionary always under my arm. That's why I think I was born a translator


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yonedatransterp
Local time: 06:25
Japanese to English
+ ...
Not quite committed, but... Aug 15, 2009

I didn't know such a profession existed, until around when I was 22. Growing up, translation was just part of the day. It was a strange realization when someone told me "You know, there are people who get paid to do that. like me."

I can't say I've chosen translation or interpretation as a career. But the benefits of the work (flexible schedule, preference to have a skill outside of just the language) just has worked out to be a very nice college / grad school work.


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xxxInterlangue
Angola
Local time: 15:25
English to French
+ ...
Age Aug 15, 2009

Deciding to become a translator/interpreter is not the same as becoming one... I decided to become one when I was around 16 but actually started working as a translator only when computers and connections (email and Internet) were in use.

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