Friday, October 05, 2012

Who is right, after all?

Years ago, soon after I started translating, I attended a translators’ meeting in New York City and heard a talk given by an executive from Bell. At one point, he said, and I paraphrase: “A person cannot be both a translator and a writer. The two don’t mix.” From what I understood, it had something to do with people not being able to write in both a technical and literary way.

Horror! Disbelief! Nooooooooooo!

What if this top executive guy was right and I couldn’t do both?

That was my dream!

I had a certificate of translation from New York University, so I had validation there that I had what it took to be a translator. Could I be a writer though? Was my writing even good enough?

I decided to ignore him. The alternative was not something I wanted to consider.

But… what if I had bought into his belief?

I meet so many people who believe strongly in so many things. I find myself admiring their passion and drive. At times I am drawn into their perspective and even buy into it, especially if this person holds a degree in something, or is considered an expert in a certain field.

Most times though, I wonder at their desire to convince others that their opinion is right.

Honestly, I have come to the conviction that everyone is right… in their own imagination. I’m not 100% sure if this is because we need to feel we are right so we can feel good about ourselves.

All I know is that I’m glad that I trusted my gut instinct all those years ago, despite the certainty and confidence in the speaker’s voice. And I think, that is all each of us can do: carry out an internal check every once in a while and trust in ourselves so we can do what works for us.

That’s my humble opinion anyway… in my imagination of course


  1. Great post, Ann Marie! I agree. When someone tells you you can't do something, it's really because THEY can't do it, or don't think they can. No matter what anyone says, you can do anything you put your mind to. I'm glad you didn't listen to him. :D