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Poll: Who was the most memorable/inspirational person in your career?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 13:17
SITE STAFF
Jul 27, 2013

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Who was the most memorable/inspirational person in your career?".

This poll was originally submitted by Erzsébet Czopyk. View the poll results »



 

Patricia Prevost  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:17
English to Spanish
+ ...
My mother...and The Beatles! Jul 27, 2013

She wasn't a translator but I remember how she loved English and studied hard every single day. And then I discovered The Beatles and, naturally, I just had to understand what they were saying so I started "translating" when I was about ten or twelve. So for me, it all started with love.

[Edited at 2013-07-27 08:34 GMT]


 

Balasubramaniam L.  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 01:47
English to Hindi
+ ...
My boss Jul 27, 2013

Many will find this an unlikely choice, but will agree with me when I explain.

I took up job in a newly-opened national-level (India) centre of excellence in education as an English Writer, but with the intention of working mainly in Hindi. This complicated situation arose because the post advertised was for an English Writer, while my interest was in Hindi. I was of course proficient in both languages and could have performed both roles. So I was confident that I could easily persuade my organization to allow me to make the switch over once I got in. This, however, proved to be a long-drawn out battle, and I had to remain the unofficial Hindi writer in the organization till the end, while I officially continuing as the English Writer there. This double situation is what finally turned me into a translator.

When I joined this organization, I was fresh from college. Though I had been writing in fits and starts and had published my things in Indian papers and magazines, both in English and Hindi, I was still raw and was still learning the ropes of good writing.

Luckily for me, my boss happened to be a retired Resident Editor of one of the leading English newspapers in India, who had spend a life-time in a newspaper and had worked his way up from the sub-editor's desk to the top job in the paper. Temperamentally he was unflappable and had immense funds of patience and it was he who trained us rookies and ingrained in us the art of writing.

His method was simple. He would make us sit in front of him with what we had written, appreciate the finer points in our writing, making at first no comments about our glaring errors or grandiose wordings. Then he would slowly ask us, "were we to write this sentence in this way, would it not be better?" Sitting across the table, we would immediately see that it would indeed be better, and it would be much more economical in terms of words too. This process would go on until the end of the document was reached and it would be coloured all over in red.

Since in the process, we would have been taken through the best principles of good writing we would have internalized where we had slipped up, and rarely ever made the same mistakes twice. In a couple of years, the red marks in our writings were markedly reduced, and we become better writers.

So the most credit for my writing skills goes to my boss from whom I learned how to write succinctly and elegantly.

[Edited at 2013-07-28 05:51 GMT]


 

Gianluca Marras  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 22:17
Member (2008)
English to Italian
my parents Jul 27, 2013

I was 15, and I told them my idea was to become a translator. They gave me all their support and I studied languages and did some short translations.
After university, I told them I wanted to live in England, I had all their support again (also from the money point of view).
I started working in a different field, and when I had the chance to change, although salary and perspectives were a black hole, they encouraged me to follow my path, and here I am.


 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 21:17
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
My late husband Jul 27, 2013

He was a military pilot and right at the beginning of our short married life (he was killed in action) his squadron was deployed to one of the former Portuguese colonies. So during the day I found myself alone in a strange place with nothing to do but wait. The solution he found was simple: “Do you think you could translate this aircraft manual?”… The rest is my history!

[Edited at 2013-07-27 10:06 GMT]


 

Oleksandr Kupriyanchuk  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 23:17
Russian to English
+ ...
My dad. And radio stations Jul 27, 2013

My dad, who taught history, every day listened (in the short wave band) to BBC, Voice of America, Radio Liberty, Free Europe, Deutsche Welle in different languages, mainly in English, German, French, and, of course, in Russian, Ukrainian, Polish and Belarusian.

The Western radio stations were jammed (especially those in Russian and Ukrainian), but we listened to the "enemy voices". Sometimes, they were propaganda, especially programs broadcast in Russian and Ukrainian, but they were a different kind of propaganda. And, often, in different languages... Sometimes, listening in the short wave band, you could listen to two stations in two languages broadcasting the same news at the same time (a kind of simultaneous interpretation?).

In the 1970s and 1980s (when all media in the Soviet Union were totally dominated by Communist propaganda), it was in fact the ONLY way to obtain fairly objective information about the world and, frankly speaking, in many cases about ourselves, as well! It was a pre-Internet epochicon_smile.gif

Again, these Western voices were sometimes propaganda, too. However, I remember very well that it was fun to compare opposite views, hear different accounts of the same event, learn new things and (as a side effect!icon_smile.gif ) to polish up our English and english up our Polish.

Years and years later, in the UK and in America, I met in person some presenters and observers whose (often jammed) voices were so important for us at that time, but this is another story...


 

Giuseppina Gatta, MA (Hons)
Member (2005)
English to Italian
+ ...
My uncle Jul 27, 2013

Since I was 8 I was very interested in languages. The only one in my family who held a University degree in English was my uncle, so he was my inspiration (even if he did not know that). He also traveled all over the world and this was another thing I wanted to do (and I still want to do).
Furthermore, when I had to choose a second foreign language to study, he suggested I studied German. That was an excellent suggestion, since 90% of my translation jobs are from German.
So, thank you, Zio Tonino!icon_smile.gif

[Modificato alle 2013-07-27 10:45 GMT]


 

Tatty  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:17
Spanish to English
+ ...
EU legal translators Jul 27, 2013

I find EU legal translations a source of inspiration simply because they are done so skilfully.

 

Mónica Algazi  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 17:17
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
My father Jul 27, 2013

From day 1 to my last day.

 

Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:17
English to Spanish
+ ...
Other: me Jul 27, 2013

It's not that I don't appreciate what others have done for me in my life, from words of encouragement to words to wake me up, from acts of kindness and gentle acts of giving, but in the end, who made the decisions to bring me to where I am today? Me, and nobody else.

 

Kay Denney  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 22:17
Member (Apr 2018)
French to English
No wanting to sound boastful or anything but Jul 27, 2013

Mario Chavez wrote:

It's not that I don't appreciate what others have done for me in my life, from words of encouragement to words to wake me up, from acts of kindness and gentle acts of giving, but in the end, who made the decisions to bring me to where I am today? Me, and nobody else.


I will freely admit here have been people who have made constructive criticism, people who have given me breaks here and there, translators whose work I proofread and who I learned a lot from, those who proofread my work, the one who suggested I did a Masters, teachers at university, those whose stupid comments so galvanised me that I swore to prove them wrong...

In other spheres such as my volunteer work and my parenting role, I'd have loads of people to name as having inspired me, but for translation, I think I can say that it is all my own work (or dogged obsession with languageicon_wink.gif ). I have supervised students and honoured them with nuggets of wisdom drawn from my achievements, and they have continued to be bad translators despite this, so I don't think I'm exaggerating.


 

Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:17
English to Spanish
+ ...
My angel Jul 27, 2013

My angel was a lady who owned a private language school, and she would also pick up a certain amount of interpreting and translation work. One day I just wandered into her establishment off the street and she accepted me immediately. She had a great way with people. I did some part-time teaching, interpreting and translation and then got a full-time job, which she knew I needed and she helped me with contacts. After that I continued doing translation through her for another ten years. With the start I got from her, I got good at what I was doing and I was able to eventually free myself from life as an employee and go out on my own.

She has my eternal gratitude, "en paz descanse".


 

Maria Amorim  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 22:17
Swedish to Portuguese
+ ...
No inspirational person but... Jul 27, 2013

In fact I have no inspirational person in this second professional career besides my own passion for languages and literature. But if I should point out an external cause it would be the death of my husband, a Swedish citizen, four months after I had arrived to Sweden. In this way, I sincerely share your feelings, Teresa.

 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 21:17
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
So we have a few things in common... Jul 27, 2013

Maria Amorim wrote:

In fact I have no inspirational person in this second professional career besides my own passion for languages and literature. But if I should point out an external cause it would be the death of my husband, a Swedish citizen, four months after I had arrived to Sweden. In this way, I sincerely share your feelings, Teresa.


... and have been in the "same boat"! Life is full of experiences! All the best!


 

Edward Potter  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:17
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Good answer, Mario Jul 27, 2013

Mario Chavez wrote:

It's not that I don't appreciate what others have done for me in my life, from words of encouragement to words to wake me up, from acts of kindness and gentle acts of giving, but in the end, who made the decisions to bring me to where I am today? Me, and nobody else.


Spot on. All the encouragement in the world is worthless without a willing and inspired receptor. Ask any drug addiction counselor about thaticon_smile.gif.

That said, I give a lot of credit to my parents, my old running coach, the Marines, various translation instructors I've had, and the list goes on. All of these would have been worthless if I hadn't gone out and achieved on my own. It is great they had been out there putting the ideas into my head.


 
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