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Translation and Life

 March 11th, on the press conference held by the First Session of 12th NPC, an interpretress with dedicated expression, shoulder-length hair, dressed in black suit, appealed much to the camera lens due to her cool and elegant face and became an internet sensation instantly. She is said to be “the most beautiful interpreter”, “the coolest and the most elegant interpretress”, and “the interpretress who looks most like Vicki Zhao (a famous Chinese movie star)”. Her name is Zhang Jing.

To most of the netizens, her looks and facial expression, or her work ethos and temperament attract their eyeballs, but to me, the position she is taking and the work she is doing now is a perfect combination of her learning and life, which is what the most English majors and translators/interpreters have dreamed about. Quoting her example, I’m not advocating that we translators all should be her, or we would be losers; but that we could unite translation, our job, and our lives. It’s hard to be an excellent interpreter, but it is based on translation. As a translator, what I'm facing everyday is Chinese and English characters, words and sentences, and what I need to do is intertranslation. It appears to be easy, I only need to translate word by word, sentence by sentence and finish the tasks assigned by PM in time every day; and also it can be hard. Everyday I'm facing those voiceless and inexpressive documents, once I miss or misread one word, the whole sentence I translated may be meaningless or even be a great mistake and cause heavy loss to my customers. It is just like our lives. Some people set a goal for their life and fight for the goal every minute, day and year, until someday they achieve their goal and realize their value of life. Zhang Jing, the interpretress I mentioned above, is a good example of this. While some make small mistakes and live their lives without a plan or they cannot overcome major hardship and setbacks, their lives are common. And there are a few who commit serious mistakes, and ruin their lives, just the same tragedy as translation causing great loss to the company and customers (the former is much more serious for sure, but they contain the same life principles). All in all, to get a high-quality translation or life, we need to grasp the overall situation at the micro level. Firstly, see through the whole mission of the translation (life) and make a plan or goal; and then, start working for the goal, be careful with every detail, avoid making stupid mistakes and finish the mission bit by bit. The process can be hard and tortuous, but with firm determination, steadfast enthusiasm and good methods, we will realize our dreams and value of life someday!

Words translated by CCJK

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