Air Force Careers That Dont Require A Lot Of Math So You Want to Be a Freelance Technical Translator Part 2 – How I Became a Technical Translator

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So You Want to Be a Freelance Technical Translator Part 2 – How I Became a Technical Translator

To be a translator, you need to have a love for language, books and reading. I inherited my grandmother’s love of books, who used to buy every award-winning French book published, so I was lucky to have the opportunity to read a lot from a young age. This certainly helped me develop an excellent technical understanding of my first language, French. I loved reading so much that my mother would often catch me reading under the bedclothes at night when I was supposed to be going to bed!

Another important feature of my early family life was that my father was a pilot in the French Air Force. This meant that from a young age I lived a somewhat nomadic lifestyle, as my mother, sister and I followed him around the countries he was stationed at (we visited many war zones!). In Algeria, where I lived for three years, I went to school with local children.

As a result of living in different cultures, my horizons broadened and I was introduced to other cultures and languages ​​such as Arabic. From an early age I was fascinated by being able to understand how the words and meanings of one language matched those of another: the first seeds of my career as a translator were planted in me. I think the other effect of my unusual childhood was that I had the feeling that it was possible to live and work happily in countries other than France, my country of origin. I felt that I could be a “citizen of the world.”

In high school I was learning English and German and wanted to expand my language experience, so when I was fifteen I set up with a German pen pal, a girl who wanted to improve her French. At first we struggled to communicate, and this made me realize that learning a language was much more than the lessons we had at school: it was essential to have lots of opportunities to practice with native speakers.

Unfortunately, my father died when I was fifteen, but at seventeen I had a brilliant opportunity with the American Field Service, a charitable organization (originally stretcher bearers in World War I; Ernest Hemingway was a member). I passed an entrance exam which gave me a scholarship to spend two years in the US, studying with American teenagers in Paradise Hills, San Diego, California. Because I studied in high school and college through English (and lived with American families), I was able to further develop my command of spoken and written English. What I didn’t realize at the time was that because I was studying physics and math, I was gaining valuable language and science skills and knowledge at the same time. This was very important when I started to develop the technical knowledge to understand aspects of engineering, such as how aircraft engines worked, and therefore be able to translate them into other languages.

By the time he was 19, he was fluent in French, English and German and had a reasonable knowledge of Arabic and Spanish. Although I hadn’t decided on my career at that age, I set out on the path that led me to become a technical translator.

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