At the 2019 American Translators Association conference in Palm Springs, I had an illuminating conversation with a young translator. After I asked how he was doing, he said that he felt that he didn’t belong there. My response was that I had felt the same way for many years. His remark touched on an issue that is not openly discussed. Clearly, the sense of not being a real professional is a difficult matter to be shared with your peers. The difficulty in feeling successful is the lack of a universal or even accepted definition although it is possible to note some measures of aspects. Even worse, it is a chicken-egg problem since self-belief in success serves as a precondition to it.
The easiest basis in searching for a basis of feeling successful is creating and appreciating vectors. The unrelenting commitment to doing the best job possible and making constant improvement, whether in terms of income or skill, often leads to a feeling of being professional. In other words, while there may be those that are better than me at this point in time due to their experience, I strive for the best and am building a better future. Thus, in these fully objective and controllable goals, I am a professional, no less than my peers that are more experienced or more skillful than me.
|[Brain with muscles]|
This belief creates the reality. Putting politics aside, millions of American believe that Trump is a successful businessman despite the fact that he has gone bankrupt 6 times because he believes that he is successful. Granted his self-confidence is a statistical outlier, his example highlights the requirement to have faith in one’s skill regardless of the current objective circumstances. To that young translator at the conference, I would say that you are a professional in that you have studied the craft, are working and striving for greater skill by having attended that translation conference. To all entrepreneurs, I would say that the persona of success is created by accentuating your true positives first to yourselves and then to others.
* Captions are important to the sight impaired. All pictures via Pixabay.