About Line CHOKOR

Étudiante en Master de Traduction – Option Traducteur Rédacteur - École de traducteurs et d'interprètes de Beyrouth - Université Saint Joseph

What to Expect When Majoring in Translation

Translation isn’t a walk in the park, as one might think. I would have loved to be told, by anyone before me, what to expect when I signed up for this major, so this is to help anyone wanting to choose translation as their career path.

You are not a dictionary

What does this word mean in X language?” is the hilarious question everyone will undoubtedly ask you when they find out you’re a translator. Anticipate this joke, you’ll hear it a lot.

Keep in mind that not knowing the equivalent of every word in every language does not lessen your ability as a translator.

Friend or foe?

Google Translate and co. are not your friends

I understand your propensity to use Google Translate when you feel like you’ve reached a dead end while translating. It’s useless, though, because the result is inaccurate. In the rare case that it is, then it is not up to par.

However, some people actually believe that it is useful, and that it will replace translators. They’ll “helpfully” suggest you turn to teaching once you get your diploma. Sarcasm aside, they have a point. Translation can open many doors for you, considering it ties in with many other domains of work.

Suitcases with wheels are the best way to avoid back pain!

Suitcases are your friends

You’ll invest in many dictionaries, so while you’re at it, invest in some suitcases as well, because come exam times, the need for them will escalate. You’ll want to take all the proper dictionaries, just in case, and they are heavy.

Take it from someone who had to carry at least three dictionaries to university every time an exam was due. Just invest in a suitcase, and if you already own one, dust it off.

Practice and translation go hand in hand

Translation is more than just relaying a message in another language. It requires knowledge, culture and mastering the languages you speak.

It’s not a problem if you’re not knowledgeable enough, or if you’re not as fluent as you’d like in a language. Practice is key. You’ll have the time to work on your skills, and you’ll have the unconditional support of your peers and instructors as well.

What you’ve just read is something I constantly faced during my studies. It’s a common experience, and it awaits you if you choose to follow in my footsteps. If not, then tell me about your experience! What are some things you’ve learned about your major that you weren’t aware of before?

Dear Younger Me

Dear 17 year old Line,

There are so many things I want to tell you, so many things I want to advise you not to do to save yourself a lot of pain, but alas, I cannot. The one thing I can tell you, that I’m sure of, is that it will get better.

University is nothing like school, you’ll discover. Being the star pupil of your school won’t help you in an environment where everyone is as good as you or even better. You’ll involuntarily allow the doubt to seep into every one of your thoughts, which will make you question everything you do. You’ll become unmotivated to do better… Interventions will ensue and you’ll try not to roll your eyes at people’s genuine care and help.

What do you know about realizing that you’re not good at the only thing you thought you were good at?” That is what you’ll want to say. But let me assure you, at some point, you will be driven by your perfectionism and your desire to make your parents proud.

The first two years are the hardest, but the last year of your bachelor degree is arguably the best. From then, things only go uphill. You’re going to gain the respect of your peers as well as your professors. You’re going to be on the honor’s roll, and many opportunities will be offered to you.

Things might seem bleak, but just remember, it’s always darkest before the dawn. Don’t be afraid to be opinionated and loud, to make your presence and your brilliance known. Do it proudly, do it wholeheartedly, do it shamelessly.

You have to fight every day for what you want. That’s life. You have to prove yourself, day in and day out. It will get exhausting, and any setbacks you face are completely expected. The fight is bitter, but the fruit is sweet. Remember that…

Yours truly,

22 year old Line.