A note in advance: please excuse my overly emotional mumbling here, but it’s late, I’ve just started in an emotional new book and I’m nearing the end of my bachelor, so I’m entitled to some hormonal nonsense.
If all goes according to plan, I’ll be writing my thesis this year. That’s something I dreaded from the moment I handed in my very first essay, three years ago. Funnily enough, I’m not so scared anymore – in fact, I have several ideas and can’t wait to discuss them with my teacher. And, frankly, I shouldn’t have been worried in the first place, because it’s going to be about something I’ve been passionate about for a while, I just didn’t know I was.
Let me set the scene here. I was twelve years old, curled up on the couch after a hellish bicycle trip home from school through the pouring rain. I was in my favourite April Evil shirt (remember how everyone wore that back then? God, I’m old) and my huge pink Nike’s because that was cool too. I was reading a typical 12-year-old-boys-book, with bows and swords and puberty. In Dutch. And I loved it. My favourite character from the series wasn’t in it as much as in the last one, but that was OK.
Now skip ahead two years later, when I got the same book for my birthday, but in English. It was my third-ever English read, and I started immediately, more because I wanted to revisit the story than because I just loved English so darn much, wasn’t quite at that stage yet. Now. Here I am, enjoying the read, until I stumble upon something I’ve never read before – six entire chapters about my beloved character, right there in the book I’d already read once. They left them all out in the Dutch translation! Erased, untranslated, poof.
This angered my slightly dramatic, young heart, and, in a hissy-fit that dumbfounded my parents, I swore that one day I would do better. If I was a translator, I would never leave stuff out. I guess that’s why I’m studying English, wanting to do a Master’s in translation. Now, of course, I know that it probably wasn’t the translator that made that call, but the publisher. And I now know that sometimes leaving stuff out makes a book better. And – luckily – I know now that I want to do translation because I’ve actually taken two courses and loved it. But this is still what pushed me in the right direction.
I guess I’m saying, if you don’t quite know what you want, listen to yourself – even if that means listening to your pre-pubescent, braces-wearing, backpack-towing, weird self that you’re glad you’ve grown out of – to figure out what you want to do, because you may have sent yourself along the right path a while ago for some stupid reason, without even knowing it.