Why did I become a translator? – Mariah Carey and the pocket treasure
Would you like to know where my passion for translation comes from? Here it goes…
In 1994, I was 13 and only had French available as a foreign language in school. My knowledge of English was literally zero. My mom bought Mariah Carey’s tape “Merry Christmas” (yes, that one, with the hit that we still get to hear every year at Christmas time…). I used to listen to those songs and wonder what they meant. That year I got the most precious gift I have ever received… an English – Italian pocket dictionary! I went home from the shop with that treasure in my hands and I couldn’t wait to start translating those texts, word by word. The first sentence I ever translated in my career was… yes, you guessed it right: “All I want for Christmas is you”!
Little by little, thanks to that mini-dictionary and my endless desire to understand, those meaningless sounds became words and words started to take on meaning. Well, some of them were still unintelligible, I couldn’t really translate conjugated verbs and many words had too many potential meanings. But sometimes, a sentence started making sense and I could understand it… what a feeling of victory and satisfaction! That Mariah Carey music tape, along with those crinkled lyrics, was really the seed from which this translator blossomed, because I never ceased to ask myself “What does it mean!?”
Besides English and French, which I never stopped studying (and spent many an afternoon watching a quiz called “Motus” on the French channel), I added Dutch to my list of languages after moving to the Netherlands in 2008.
And there you have my three language combinations:
English – Italian
French – Italian
Dutch – Italian