A freelance translator specialising in transcreation, Percy Balemans MCIL CL is owner of PB Translations (www.pb-translations.com). She explains how she became a professional linguist; the original Dutch version is printed in The Linguist 55,2.
"I was still in secondary school when the School of Translation opened its doors in Maastricht, my home town. I immediately decided that this was where I was going to study English, my favourite subject in school. After I graduated, I spent a couple of years working for a translation agency that specialised in software manuals, but I soon got bored with this. I found a job as technical writer with an IT company and I ended up working there for almost fifteen years, doing all sorts of different things: technical writing, copywriting, building websites, managing their helpdesk.
But when someone offered me a translation job, I realised that translation was my real passion. One job led to another and less than two years later I gave up my job to focus on translation, this time as a freelance translator translating from English and German into Dutch, and specialising in transcreation, fashion, art and travel.
I love the variation of translating about different subjects, I can plan my own day and I decide which jobs I accept. Do I regret those fifteen years when I wasn’t translating? Definitely not. In hindsight, this turned out to be the perfect preparation to start my own business: I gained experience in technical writing and copywriting, I learned how to build my own website and solve computer problems. And the most important thing: I worked on projects for many different kinds of companies, so I learned how business works. That’s the type of experience you cannot learn from a course or a book."