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So You Want to Be a Freelance Technical Translator - 3

April 27, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 170

Relationships and an international outlook

As I had lived in many different countries as a child because my father was a French Air Force pilot, and went to the USA in my teens with the American Field Service, I was blessed with the opportunity to meet and get to know people from all over the world, and extend my knowledge of their language - a critical skill for a linguist. As well as my language skills, I developed a range of knowledge about different countries and cultural preferences which I still use today when I am communicating with my clients all over the world.

My travel experiences helped me to develop an appreciation of international and linguistic similarities and differences, but another area of experience also had a major impact on my career: the relationships I developed, especially as a young person. I realise that there is now a slight danger of embedding a stereotype of French men having a roving eye, but I would like to emphasise that all my romantic relationships have taken place one at a time!

As a young teenager I had a German girlfriend which meant I travelled to Germany back and forth many times (all the way from the French Riviera), and polished my written and spoken German with her, her friends and family. During my time in the USA, I had a few American girlfriends, not one of whom spoke any French - so my English (American version) was greatly enhanced and refined by this. I also had an Argentinian girlfriend for 18 months - travelling to Costa Rica to meet up with her gave me other experiences apart from practising Spanish, as it meant flying on an old DC3 plane, with chickens running up and down the gangway! I also had a Mexican girlfriend for a short while and came to love the Aztec history and beauty of the vast desert areas.

I met a range of people from different nationalities through the American Field Service, including friends from Morocco, Yugoslavia, Uganda, Laos, Ecuador, Paraguay, Brazil and New Zealand. I also got to know a young Native American woman who introduced me to some fascinating aspects of her culture including the challenges of learning to ride a horse without a saddle over long distances!

Having known so many people from so many cultures has given me an international perspective which has been of great value when communicating with clients from all around the world. My English wife says I have an encyclopaedic knowledge of geography (I think she finds it a bit irritating when I instantly answer geography as well as language questions on "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?", "University Challenge" and "The Weakest Link").

I am sure if I had stayed in France as a young person, I would not have developed the knowledge and skills to get on well with clients from all over the world in my successful translation business. So my message to young people out there looking for an interesting technical translation career, whatever your native language is: Broaden your horizons! Step out of your comfort zone! Travel! Meet and get to know people!

Visit our website for more information on technical translation

Source: EzineArticles
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