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Do you feel lonely as a translator?

In 2019, I was living happily in the UK, I had married for the second time and had a nice job. As I used to do every year, ever since 2012 when I finally moved to England, I booked a flight to Brazil to visit my family. Little did I know (did anyone?) that the pandemic would make the world stop. I found myself having to re-organise my whole life.

Being unable to return to the UK, in the long run and also to make this post shorter, I lost my job and my husband and my Indefinite Leave to Remain. My life was, and is to this day, dedicated to looking after my parents. They both suffer from dementia. Being 65 myself I find it pretty hard to cope with all the issues implied with caring, especially when they are your loved ones!

I came to a point when I was losing my mind...and my health! That's when I thought that I HAD to find something for me to do. Luckily, I found a translation mentorship online course.

I have always been involved with translation, since it is a great passion of mine. I can recall myself with big headphones as a teenager trying to get the lyrics from songs that I used to listen to.. Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Yes, Genesis, Pink Floyd.. those were the good old days!!

In order to do that though, I used to lock myself in my room for hours on end, listening to the words a hundred times ( many records scratched in the, and getting so excited when I had them right! But unfortunately there was no one there to share my excitement.. Then my beloved late sister set the question that became the life-changer!  ‘Why don’t you try to translate the lyrics? So that l can appreciate what you’re doing as well!' 

So, there I was again locked in my room but this time with no headphones, just a pen and my notebook, trying to figure how to translate the lyrics that sounded so beautiful in English but made no sense to me in these verses for instance:   

If there's a bustle in your hedgerow, don't be alarmed now It's just a spring clean for the May queen

Do you know which song that is? Leave me a comment!

We don't do ‘spring cleans’ in Brazil, we don't have ‘May queens’.. 

But that was not going to stop me! Finally, after a lot of work, one night I arranged to play the songs to my parents, my sister and my brother and read the translated lyrics to them. I guess all of you can have a guess at what happened.. It was a complete failure, for both sides! It ended up with lots of mocking and good laughter, of course! No hurt feelings.. (Well, sort of!)  As life moved on, my love for the English language and for translating and  for learning more led me to University. There I found out that what really made me happy was still drowning myself in books and articles, trying to study as much as I could and translating things that caught my attention or that I found too beautiful to keep only to myself. 

That was when my father gave me a typewriter as a gift for my birthday. Oooh how regretful he would become of that gift! It became a nightmare to the whole family, having to listen to the noises that filled the air in the evenings, sometimes late at night... (could that have been the beginning of the "pinging effect" syndrome??)

I believe many of you have never had to listen to that noise, so I found a link for you to experience the joy! I find it rather soothing, to be honest (that's what nostalgia means).

With it, came the long nights of staying awake, working on essays and group studies. Then one day I found an ad in the newspaper of a printing company that was looking for a translator. My test for the job was to translate a whole section about Africa for an encyclopedia. I had a deadline which sounded challenging but motivating as well. 

I could not contain my happiness when the postman brought the envelope with the papers...

Stay tuned for the next chapter!

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Thank you for sharing your journey, Silvia. I know some other people, from Morocco, who became stuck abroad from one day to the next when the borders suddenly closed. They thought they would be out of country for a few days, or a week, and found their lives turned upside down for long periods. Your experience is the worst I've heard, the bottom dropping out of your life in so many ways all at once. I admire your resilience

On a lighter note, my eldest sister taught me to type and my Dad gave me a turquoise portable Smith- Corona as a high school graduation present. I used it through college, grad school, and the first couple of years of…


I grow up listening to it. My first attempt in typing was (كمنت شسب كمنت شسب كمنت شسب) ring any bells? 😅

Replying to

That's great to know Shams! I guess a lot of us, translators, will say "been there, done that", won't we? Thank you so much for reading and for your comment!


Stairway to heaven Led Zeppelin "Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Yes, Genesis, Pink Floyd.. those were the good old days!!" We went to the same English school you and I with those good old teachers, I feel so related to this. Thank you for putting the effort and sharing your story

Replying to

Shams, it is my absolute pleasure! I am amazed at how many people relate to my story. It's great!! Thank you for your lovely comment!


I loved reading your story Silvia, thank you so much for sharing it with us. It’s difficult to imagine the challenges you have faced when I see your calm demeanour on camera every Thursday!

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Hi Anna, thank you so much for taking the time to read it! I really appreciate your comment! 😊


"If there's a bustle in your hedgerow, don't be alarmed now, it's just a spring-clean for the May queen" ..... Of course, I have not forgotten!! This is one of my very favourite songs: Stairway to Heaven from Led Zepp :-)

I also tried to translate all these beautiful lyrics when I was a teenager. I even took them to my English classes in high school to work on.

Thanks to your input I decided to create a play list with songs from Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Yes, Pink Floyd and all the other "oldies"... to keep me happy throughout my working days. Thanks a lot. I wish you all a beautiful day :-)

Replying to

Inge, I got goosebumps reading your lovely comment! I am thrilled to know that you relate to my account and even more to know that I have inspired you to create your playlist! I did that some time ago and the smiles just kept coming to my face whenever I heard the very first chords.. Thank you for reading!! Have a beautiful day too!


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