“Waiting” in Brussels…

 They say travelling is always about the experience and not the destination, and indeed, they are right.

During my mobility scholarship in Belgium, I experienced such a memorable adventure… And trust me, I would never have thought of doing it here in my home country.

The smell of our delicious shawarma made me homesick, as I was walking down the streets of Brussels…where I discovered this typical Lebanese cuisine restaurant O Liban.

I saw our famous mezza, our fine wine and our best-known sweets. I heard people speaking in Lebanese. At that precise moment, I realized that it felt exactly like home.

I don’t know how it came to my mind, but I decided to work as a waitress in that restaurant specifically, given that I had plenty of time and working for fun was not a bad idea.

And there, my experience began. I learned how to hold three plates in one hand and four glasses of wine in the other, just like a pro. To be honest, it was never an easy task since I broke three glasses the first time I tried to hold them and made some stupid little mistakes in front of clients; but I managed to do it perfectly at the end.

However, I have always wondered why they hired me, a translation student. Well, I was not a pro, nor I had skills. Then, I figured it all out. I am Lebanese, which makes it easier for us to communicate.

I know all our dishes by heart and being a translator was a plus for me. I was able to talk about the variety of the dishes we have in different languages. I was able to tell the clients about the ingredients of our mezza.

Then I realized that it was never about the skills because eventually, everyone will learn the technique. It was about the passion we share for our Lebanese cuisine and for the way we want to present our culture.

And that’s why foreigners love coming to the restaurant. They are in love with our famous dishes, sweets and “Almaza” beer. After all, the smile says it all.

My adventure ended after three weeks of clumsy hands, broken glasses, perfect sorting and mastering the waitress job.

I never thought I would be a waitress one day but I had the guts to do it and it was definitely a worth remembering experience.

So my advice to you is this:

Break out of your comfort zone and don’t be afraid to travel. Always have the courage to try new things for it will be a step closer to what you want to achieve in life.

ETIBers, We Did It!

Class of 2015, REJOICE! Graduation is just around the corner and we are ready to throw those caps and hit the nearest pubs. But the next morning, we will be hit, not only by a massive hangover, but also by real life. The moment we have all been dreading is here, it’s time for the long tiring depressing nerve wrecking journey, aka: The Job Hunt.


Hire me maybe?

Hire me maybe?

“Shu traduction ya3ne? Metel Google translate?” If I’m given a penny every time someone asks me this question I’d be super rich and I’m sure I’m not the only one. We, my fellow ETIBers, chose a very tricky domain. Are we walking dictionaries? Are we linguists? Are we writers, co-writers? Five years later and we’re still trying to figure out who we are and who we want to become and before we do, we can’t start building a career. Someone once told me “if you hate Mondays don’t blame Monday, it’s just a day, it’s your job that sucks.” So before sending your CV to every translation company in the world and the far galaxies (unless you somehow picked up Martian at USJ), make sure this is what you really want, make sure you’re passionate or else you’ll hate every single minute of it. Reality check though, there’s a chance you will not land your dream job right after graduation but make sure you’re on the right path.

Here are some tips.
Build a strong CV, endure long pay-less internships because they’re the only experience you can gain before graduating, and the bigger the name, the easier it’ll be to get job interviews.
Connections, I cannot emphasize enough on the importance of your phone book. Every person you meet at University, during your internship or even at a friend’s gathering can be a potential future opportunity.
Focus on making a big impact, the quicker you make an impact in a company, the more attention and support you will get; we fully understand this because we’re not willing to wait five more years to get the big projects. Prove your worth in the company.
Take risks, by taking risks you are putting yourself in a position to learn, you never know what tomorrow hides, a simple new experience can lead to an unexpected change of career path, and you just might like it!

So as we hand in our last final papers and say goodbye to our crazy party years, keep in mind that our lives have just begun, all that we have learned, all that we have been through, are only the warm-up for adulthood. Our golden years are yet to come, so step away Google. We might slip on the way but that’s ok, we’re used to wearing heels, we pick ourselves up after every fall, heads held high ready to conquer the world and kick some Google Translate derrière.

We did it!

Congrats – We did it!

I’m a translator… Not a walking dictionary

"Do you know the equivalent of " pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanokoniosis" ? Credit: http://translatorfun.com/2012/03/20/misconceptions-about-translation-walking-dictionary/

Do you know the equivalent of pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanokoniosis ?
Credit: http://translatorfun.com/2012/03/20/misconceptions-about-translation-walking-dictionary/



“Oh you’re a translator! How many languages do you speak?’’ “Do you know the equivalent of <insert incredibly long and complicated word here>?’’ “Oh a translator, like an interpreter?”

Unfortunately, these are the questions that us translators have to deal with on a day-to-day basis. We also have to go through the long and agonizing process of explaining to people that our job is based on more than knowing the equivalent of a word that hasn’t been used since the 18th century.

I once stepped into an elevator with a forty-something man that lives in my building. He casually asked me what I was studying at university, and I always thought that he looked rather well educated. I informed him that I am currently studying translation. With a little smile on his lips, he confidently replied: “Translation? That’s easy you just use Google translate, you’ll have the text in 1 second!” I stepped out feeling rather hurt. I don’t think the man realized he just offended the entire translation community.

Unfortunately, these sad incidents do occur, and my frustration can be understood. This man just summed up my whole career with a machine that can do it faster with no delays or payment.

People need to understand that translation is a consuming process, and it will always demand a human touch. The criteria followed to assess whether a translator is skilled or not should not be based on the knowledge of numerous languages or big words. A successful translator is the one who knows how to mold languages and transmit the same ideas to a public that doesn’t speak a foreign language.

Translation is an activity reserved for the people who are passionate about languages and who spend countless sleepless nights doing what they love.