a.k.a. Reaffirming my number one passion
This post is based on a NaBloPoMo prompt: What was your best subject back in school? Did you choose a profession that uses that subject?
My best subject
My passion for English began around the age of 9 when I started listening to pop songs by British and American artists and learning them by heart. At the time, I either had just began learning English at school or hadn’t even taken a class, but it didn’t keep me from enjoying myself. My friends and I would re-enact music videos in the playground to the sound of our own voices. I am sure it was gibberish to trained ears, but I can still remember the lyrics to those songs.
Very quickly, it appeared that in addition to English being my best subject, I was the best at it in my class. This was a source of pride and motivation and helped me get through secondary school. I was always ahead of my classmates and got bored whenever things got too easy or my classmates needed “too much” time to complete a task. I even came second to a bilingual kid in an English competition organised by our school.
Sure, in front of native English speakers, I would probably have lost all confidence, but within the French school system, I was doing great. In high school, my rebellious spirit worked against me: from time to time I would decide that an assignment didn’t interest me and that there was no way I was going to complete it. I got a few zeros out of it but it didn’t affect my average.
It took me a while to figure out what I wanted to with my life. For a long time, I wanted a job that revolved around English but was more interested in using it than teaching it. My other interests, such as web development, wouldn’t involve daily communication in English – at least I thought so at the time. So even as a graduate, I still had no idea what to do.
Of course, I had thought about a career in translation, but the translation classes I had taken as part of a Bachelor’s degree in English studies had little to do with the actual job. I had this weird notion that translating from English into French wasn’t for me because it meant “using” French, not English, and an awfully exacting grading system convinced me that I wasn’t good at translating in the other direction.
Still, after some time, I started a Master’s degree in foreign languages and met professional translators who taught us everything about their job. I understood very quickly that this was what I wanted to do, and did several work placements to learn by experience and become “operational”. Now I get to use my favourite subject on a daily basis and really feel like I found my calling.
Featured image: English Language Grunge Flag by Nicolas Raymond on Flickr, resized and cropped by me.