While I was a senior high school student, I never imagined being a translator. Never in my life, I crossed paths with a translator, either in the books I read, the TV shows I watched, or the meetings I visited. In a small agricultural world where I live, translation and translator are just out of touch. The only profession with requires English proficiency is a language teacher. That’s the closest profession to the translator, I think.
My first encounter with a translation job took place during my freshman year, on which I was offered an Indonesian-to-English translation task. I declined it anyway. Not because of the small amount of money offered to compensate such a daunting task, but due to the sense of incompetence and self-doubt I felt. My Indonesian is not good enough while my English is much worse. Yes, what can we expect from an Indonesian student studying English at the tertiary level who just heard the word translation for the first time?
Despite my major being an English education, I taught myself to take every other opportunity. When a master of ceremony is needed and none is ready, I volunteered myself. It includes receiving translation orders from other students. It is not uncommon that the students from other departments, such as engineering or economic, are assigned to translate English journals for their subjects.
To make the story short, fate then leads me from being a junior and years later becoming a senior translator. It was a hell of a ride for me. Being a self-taught translator is a nightmare in the first year. It was then a tough challenge in the second year. It was then a profession I am sure I can make ends meet.
I now realize that being a translator undeniably is one of the coolest jobs in the world. We save the day by being communication warriors. Just take for example refugees from the Middle East who are stranded in European continents. They are saved and protected, among them, with the help of the translators and interpreters helping to bridge the communication barriers*.
So, being a translator allows us to bridge gaps by removing language and cultural barriers. We also connect cultures by integrating culturally appropriate communication elements. In addition, we help create a more tolerant global village. While doing all the tasks, we maintain professional integrity, regardless of the disintegrated world we are now living in.