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Pay It Forward

I remember those days when I was young, sometimes, my family and I watched Egyptian series on Nile TV, a TV channel which broadcasted Egyptian contents in foreign languages. The series was shown with English subtitles. This was my first time coming across anything related to translation. I was fascinated by the idea that translation could help non-Arabic speakers follow the same series I was watching. My first attempt to learn from that was to write down some simple English words as well as the English spelling of Arabic names. That’s why I chose to write my name in English as Zeinab, instead of Zainab. The former form has stuck into my mind since then.



pay it forward with volunteering

Shortly afterwards, I started watching American movies subtitled into Arabic. That helped me to be a fast reader and to fill in gaps whenever I missed out words, a skill that would come in handy in my following educational years when my hearing got worse. At some point, my brother watched movies with me but he wasn’t that fast to catch up with the speedy subtitles. Then, it was my chance to show off and prove to him how fast I read the subtitles out loud.


In college, I studied Spanish and translation was a main component of the curriculum. We had Spanish into-Arabic translations and vice versa. Now, I know now you will ask me; “So how did you end up translating from English to Arabic on Pro Bono?”


Bear with me, please! After finishing my studies, I was eager to start working with my Spanish. However, it was 2011. The general situation wasn’t that promising in Egypt after the aspirations of the revolution weren’t realized. And without having a specific goal, finding a job was like looking for a needle in a haystack.


I started working on my English in an attempt to increase my chances of finding a job. At the same time, I was doing random online jobs. It didn’t bother me because for the first time in my life, I was financially better off. I didn’t have to ask my mother for money to cover my needs. However, I wasn’t well off enough to be independent and to move out.


One of the jobs I did was to work with a client to translate sport content which was used for dubbing. I learned a lot during this job and I owe the improvement in my translation skills to him. Time passed, and my English dramatically improved at the expense of Spanish. I kept moving from a temporary job to another with long breaks and without figuring out what I really wanted to do or how to secure my future in the long term.


Last year, on the lookout for a job online, I came upon Pro Bono. I had the honor to work on a short translation under the guidance of Shams, the veteran translator. We immediately clicked with each other and our communication exceeded translation into different aspects of our personal lives. A few months later, I traveled to Sri Lanka following my naive heart and mistaken intuition. Shams kept in contact with me. Her personal insights and stories via emails provided such great relief and support after I was broken up with and abandoned there.


Shams was one of a few people who helped me, either directly or indirectly, during my difficult time in Sri Lanka. I might not be able to pay them back. Nevertheless, I believe volunteering with Pro Bono is one way to pay it forward. I’m still lost, broken down and jobless. However, I will keep navigating the complexities of my life and hopefully, I will find my path soon.


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8件のコメント


I was incredibly touched by your story Zeinab! It takes courage to bare your soul like that, I find it impressive. I wish you the very best!

いいね!
Zeinab Eltaher
Zeinab Eltaher
2 days ago
返信先

Thank you for taking the time to read it! :)

いいね!

Oscar Núñez
Oscar Núñez
4月26日

Thank you for sharing your story and I am glad that you have found support in someone from this proz pro bono group. Also, do not be afraid because life is a rollercoaster. When you never expect, you will find love in others and opportunities close where you are. Also, you are so brave and transparent! Keep that good heart! 🌝🌻

いいね!
返信先

Thank you, Oscar! :)

いいね!

Dear Zeinab, you have overcome these obstacles with as much bravery as it probably took to write about them here. I hope you find your niche in our market and find a way to support yourself as you deserve to. I am impressed.

いいね!
返信先

Thanks for your kind words, Yuna! :)

いいね!

Nick London
Nick London
4月26日

Thank you for sharing (part of) your life story; I do hope you manage to overcome all challenges you're faced with currently and do stay safe, Zeineb.

いいね!
返信先

Thanks for reading and for your supporting comment, Nick! :)

いいね!

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