A freelance translator specialising in transcreation, Percy Balemans MCIL CL is owner of PB Translations (www.pb-translations.com). She explains how she became a professional linguist; the original Dutch version is printed in The Linguist 55,2.

Percy Balemans

"I was still in secondary school when the School of Translation opened its doors in Maastricht, my home town. I immediately decided that this was where I was going to study English, my favourite subject in school. After I graduated, I spent a couple of years working for a translation agency that specialised in software manuals, but I soon got bored with this. I found a job as technical writer with an IT company and I ended up working there for almost fifteen years, doing all sorts of different things: technical writing, copywriting, building websites, managing their helpdesk.

But when someone offered me a translation job, I realised that translation was my real passion. One job led to another and less than two years later I gave up my job to focus on translation, this time as a freelance translator translating from English and German into Dutch, and specialising in transcreation, fashion, art and travel.

I love the variation of translating about different subjects, I can plan my own day and I decide which jobs I accept. Do I regret those fifteen years when I wasn’t translating? Definitely not. In hindsight, this turned out to be the perfect preparation to start my own business: I gained experience in technical writing and copywriting, I learned how to build my own website and solve computer problems. And the most important thing: I worked on projects for many different kinds of companies, so I learned how business works. That’s the type of experience you cannot learn from a course or a book."