Three years ago, after being on this planet for almost four decades and having worked as a translator and an interpreter in Buenos Aires for well over another one, I dared jump and follow my dream: make a living as an interpreter in the international market.
In less than six months, I sold every single thing I owned and, carrying the only 23-kilo suitcase the airline allowed me to check-in, I landed in Heathrow via Madrid. Tired, dying for a nice, hot shower, and with my stomach in a knot after realizing that my dream had turned very much real, I sank into the comfort of the back seat of a mini cab and looked out the window at a London that, even though I had visited before, now seemed unfamiliar and way too big!
I remember thinking ‘what have I done’, ‘will I make it’, ‘what am I going to do’, ‘what if it doesn’t work out’, ‘what if it DOES work out’, ‘where do I start’, ‘where do I continue’. And so on. And so on.
So, I started with the paperwork; registering at the doctor’s office, as a self-employed professional, and with the local translators’ association.
Then came the recognisance period. As I did not know anybody in town, much less in the translation and interpreting local market, I had no choice but to take my time and start figuring out who is whom in my profession and who does what and how they do it. What I did not expect, in my naivete, was undergoing my own self-knowledge and awareness process. The dreaded – and also inspiring – ‘what do I want’ came up quite a lot during that time.
Thank goodness for my long walks in the park! And thanks for my friend’s suggestion of taking up Tourist Sundays upon my arrival.
London is such a wonderful and endless city.
What I have found in my first three years in the United Kingdom is that the famous stiff upper-lip is actually a nation-wide love and respect for one’s own privacy and that of others, that the right kind of humour can go a long way and that, yes indeed, everybody smiles in the same language.
I have felt as welcome and appreciated as I have felt challenged and at times slightly misunderstood, which I guess is to be expected when one steps out of one’s comfort zone. To be honest, it has been fascinating – and a tad tough, too.
Somewhere down the road, MCL took form and I decided to go for it and give it my all. Funny how our dreams grow quietly inside us until something wakes them up and, once they do, all the pieces simply fall in place.
The learning curve as I moved from being just another freelancer to being a solopreneur building a business and a career for myself has been steep, to say the least. I have spent numerous hours reading and learning about branding, networking, bookkeeping, and business management. I hate numbers. Just give me words any day.
However, I would like to think that I am getting the hang of it. I am certainly enjoying it more and more every day – the numbers, I mean. And the making a place for myself in the international market.
The one thing that I cannot say is that it is all my credit. Because it is not.
Whatever goals I have achieved in these three years, whatever milestones I have conquered and obstacles overcome, whatever I contribute from my humble corner in cyberspace, and whatever value I add to my clients’ work is the direct result of my hard work and preparation and – maybe – a little bit of talent but it is also a credit to the unquivering support and encouragement I have always received and keep always getting from the amazing people I am lucky to have in my life.
No man is an island. Neither is any woman.
Neither am I.
Maybe, on the day of my London anniversary, instead of standing for my own initials as well as Modern Communication & Languages Ltd., MCL should come to stand for Multiple Collaboration without Limits.
Isn’t that grand?
“She believed she could, so she did.” ~R. S. Grey
No useful resources today but a big THANK YOU! And a big hug.
Photo taken by me on my way back from Belfast, where I interpreted for a visiting Latin American delegation. We do not often get such a clear, cloud-free view of London from above and it was not this clear when I landing in Heathrow from Argentina.