Saying those words out loud is almost illegal where I come from. It’s 2016 and in an extremely developed Norway a master’s degree is the new bachelor’s degree. What I’m trying to say is that it’s something that «everyone» have. Having a bachelor’s degree isn’t enough anymore. A couple of years ago mastersyken was a very important topic in Norwegian media. It can be translated as «the master’s sickness» and it means that people are crazy about taking master’s degrees and that you can’t get a decent job without one. Unfortunately this didn’t change anything even though many, many people wrote about how their master’s degree hadn’t made any diference for how good of a professional they were, and some even wrote that their master’s degree had made them worse at their job. And everyone still expects me to do a master’s because that’s what everyone does.
My dream is to be a translator. Since my first translation classes in Portugal last year I’ve felt this extreme passion for translating. Do you have any idea about the adrenaline rush you feel when finding the perfect word after thinking and googling for a while? It’s the best feeling in the world! When I translate I feel like I’m creating something. Of course I’m not the author of the text, but I’m making the text understandable for others, not just by translating the words, but the meaning, jokes and expressions. I’m tying the world together. I am a bridge between two people, two cultures, two perspectives, two realities. And that satisfies me.
The other day I helped my boyfriend with a translation. It wasn’t very long, but it was advanced. I felt at home again, I felt like I was on the right path, I felt happiness when finding the right words. Afterwards he told me he had seen a whole different me. A passionate and happier me. Doesn’t that mean anything? I don’t feel that way when studying syntax theory or Brazilian literature from the XX century. Maybe I wasn’t made for studying theories, maybe I was made for more practical work? Like translation.
I’ve been a little on and off about doing a master’s because sometimes I enjoy studying linguistic theory, but most of the time I don’t. Of course I could do a master’s degree in translation, but I don’t feel like doing research on translation right now, I want to work. What I could do is work for a couple of years and then see if I think research is something for me. In some areas at my university in Norway you can get into a master’s programme based on your experience in the field. Doesn’t that make a lot more sense? You have the theory from your bachelor’s and the real life experience from working. Isn’t that a much better starting point than just theories that you can’t relate to at all because you’ve never seen anything like that with your own eyes?
Making a decision like this is hard because so many people around me want me to do a master’s and I don’t like to disappoint people. But shouldn’t my life choices depend on my happiness and not others’? I understand that they only want the best for me, but I can’t see how staying two more years in school studying something that I don’t want to study just to make someone else happy is the best for me. I want to develop my skills in translation and I think that the most efficient way to do so is to work and gain experience.
Last thing: I can always go back to school if I find out that a master’s is what I need to move forward. Please remember that.