How to Avoid Occupational Injuries as a Translator: Stupidity and Over-ambition

Having uploaded the photos of my bandaged finger and wrist equipped with a wrist protector, I feel like I’ve given you a visual depiction of my shame. There were also other shameful moments that I can’t show you through a photo, like when I messed up my sleeping schedule from doing an urgent project, when I couldn’t spend time with my family, etc. Wrapping up the “Occupational Injuries of Translators” series, I thought about the root cause of all these symptoms, and it’s foolishness combined with overambition.

The foolishness that I’m talking about here isn’t a matter of IQ but has to do with comprehensive discernment, such as the ability to discern what’s really important from what’s trivial, what you should make an effort to do well and what you can ignore, what you should do now and what you can do later, and knowing how far you should take something. This kind of discernment grows through experience and self-reflection and is blurred, disordered, and collapsed by overambition.
Honestly, if you think about it, all the symptoms I mentioned earlier (stress, overworking of the fingers and wrists, eyestrain, back troubles, etc.) aren’t necessarily the result of translation work itself, but rather appeared because I lacked the humble and easygoing attitude to work within my limits as well as the wisdom to make long-term investments in myself when I have the time so that I can work well within those set limits. For instance, if I had familiarized myself with the speech recognition program in advance even though it was difficult, I would have been able to process much more work in the same amount of time and significantly reduce the burden on my eyes, wrists, and back. The same goes for CAT tools.
If you keep in mind that a translator’s career is like a marathon, you will never take on such a burdensome number of projects that you exhaust your mental and physical strength. That’s because while it might help increase your income over the short term, in the long run, it’s nothing but an unnecessary waste of effort that won’t help you in any way.

Looking at it from this perspective, foolishness and overambition aren’t just another occupational injury, but should rather be seen as the root cause of every occupational injury suffered by a translator. In this marathon that is the path of a translator, let’s eliminate our foolishness and overambition, and take every day joyously, happily, kindly, and gratefully. [bctt tweet=”Let’s eliminate our foolishness and overambition, and take every day joyously, happily, kindly, and gratefully.” username=””]


브라이언은 의료분야에서 한영번역을 하는 번역가입니다. 캐나다 온타리오의 작은 시골 마을에서 아내와 둘이 삽니다. 여행과 독서와 음악과 커피를 좋아합니다.

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