Positive attitude is everything when you have to face a workload that seems bigger than you. It might be difficult. For instance, how many times did you think, “Oops! It’s already 5 o’clock on Friday and I have to finish this job by tonight, then get back home, cook, and clean up. I can’t make it!”? Then you were overcome by anxiety and spent so much time convincing yourself that you couldn’t make it that you actually didn’t make it.
When you are in such circumstances (and we all often are), just try to switch on the positive button in your brain. Instead of thinking you cannot make it, rationally analyze the situation and approach it with a proactive attitude. There are many circumstances in life and work when you are overwhelmed by so many things that you don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. Panicking is probably the first thing you do, but panicking and overthinking keep you stuck in the moment and, what’s even worse, suck all your mental and physical energy away! The result? Your deadline is still pending because you didn’t do what you wanted to and, on top of that, you’re so tired!
Still, you can train yourself to have a realistic kind of optimism that will boost your self-motivation and, consequently, your energy. How? By following six simple positive thinking tips that are good for translators but can apply to every kind of job too!
First of all, you should develop a good attitude toward change. It’s not uncommon that a client is not fully satisfied with your translation and asks you to change a few words or even entire sentences. So don’t take it personally—it just means that he/she has read your work and reviewed it on the basis of his/her needs. So don’t complain too much; just start thinking how you can modify your translation in order to professionally meet his/her request. Your client’s satisfaction is your satisfaction, and a good review of your work can help boost your business! Word of mouth is still powerful.
Approach difficult things with a productive mindset; don’t focus on fumbles and why they are there (they’ll always be somewhere in your way), but rather how you can overcome them. If you surrender, this won’t benefit you at all. Keep trying until you find the perfect word or the most relevant shade of meaning. No matter how long it takes, just do it! Once I saw a comedy by Yang Shi, a Chinese actor living in Italy. The show revolved around his life, from his childhood in a quite wealthy Chinese family to his arrival in Italy, where he and his mother started working as waiters and dishwashers until late at night and were living in a tiny flat because they couldn’t afford a bigger one. Still, he didn’t give up—he wanted to study at university and then become an actor. So he kept trying again and again until he was hired by a famous Italian TV program. It wasn’t luck, it was resiliency—the ability to bounce back from difficult circumstances.
Compete with yourself and try to make daily progress by acknowledging your limits and going beyond them. If you want to finish your translation by today so that at 5 o’clock you can go home with no other thought than relaxing, work hard during the day to finish your translation—or most of it—by the end of your working day. Sometimes you might not reach your goal because you’re too tired or you need to be faster, but at least you tried. This will make you proud of yourself and enhance your self-confidence, your most powerful ally in life.
Learn from your mistakes. Don’t be upset if you make a mistake. Especially in the language field, mistakes are the best way to learn a language. You don’t know what those who now speak fluently have passed through in order to learn. And they are still learning, because the study of a language, as well as translations, is a lifetime one. You’ll be always discovering a shade of a word you didn’t know before.
Still, if you’re too tired—and some days it happens, let’s face it—do not overload yourself. It won’t lead to any good results. Instead, take a break, take five minutes to have a nice cup of tea, and for a moment disconnect your brain from your job. Once you get back to your desk, you will approach your work in a more motivated, rational manner.
Finally, smile. Smiling has incredible benefits on your mind. Your brain interprets the movement of your facial muscles and releases endorphins, which are responsible for making us feel happy and lowering our stress level. Even if you don’t feel like it, take two seconds and smile; the brain can’t distinguish between a real smile and a fake one, so it will release endorphins anyway. And you know that when you are happy and relaxed, your energy reaches unexpected peaks and practically gives you superpowers.
So yes, keeping a positive attitude has countless benefits that you can experience in every area of your life—not only when translating. There’s nothing to worry about, as all problems are solvable. It’s all about taking action and turning all your worry into focused energy.
If you’re interested in translation, read Translating, or About an Art Lying Between Science and Creativity.
Written by Marcella Sartore, Marketing & Communication Assistant @ Athena Parthenos