As Francis Baco put it: Live to learn, not learn to live. Living is a constant process of learning. This is especially important for translators. We all know that if we do a job in a specific field for a long time, we would do it much better. However, the reality for us is, we have to do a lot of other jobs outside of our specialized field. When we are doing that, we have to learn new things. It was tough and painful during the process. You are apt to say, what the hell, this is not my field, how would I suppose to know what is what? Well, life is tough like that, we all have to do something we never know before. The difference between human being and other creatures is that we are more resilient and capable of learning new things. After learning for a while, the thing you found difficult before become a piece of cake for you, isn’t that a wonderful feeling? Experiences and learning makes us grow up more promptly.
Learning new things keeps us young. When you stop learning, you would feel you are getting old. Nothing is change, everything is stable, you are doing the same thing every day and do not want to search any adventure in your life, which means you do not get any progress anymore.
When I first came to the translation field, it was like, I was in a new world full of thorns, everything was so difficult. The materials I translated had a lot of long sentences with confusing grammar. I had to check a lot on the internet to figure out what they were trying to say. My Chinese was awkward and not natural to read regardless I am a Chinese myself. As the old saying goes, where there’s a will, there’s a way. I am hard working and I donate a lot of time on translation. Although I know there is still a long way to go, I determine that I will take my time and never stop learning.
Sometimes I ask for help from some English native speakers for twisted sentences. They are like, what? You think I am a walking encyclopedia? It is true that some documents are too specialized that even native speaker does not understand. That is why we have to check a lot of information from the internet and learn constantly. Sure it would be much easier and more skillful if we just do a specific field. But if you are more positive and think about it by the other way, you can learn much more during the process, too. Isn’t it make your feel less painful? And that is what my foreigner friends told me, too: wow, you would know a lot about every field very soon. Well, maybe they exaggerated a little bit, but that is how translating becomes fun to us.
When I translated something about wine, I had to check a lot of backgrounds about the grape, the brand and the tone of various wines, and I became more knowledgeable about wine. And it goes the same when I translated something about food, or a machine I never know before.
Life is all about exploring and experiencing. Only learning can make us more alive.