Does Passion Play a Role in Becoming a Successful Translator?

There’s always been a lot of talk amongst entrepreneurs about passion.

And one of the biggest debates of all time is whether or not you need to be passionate about what you’re doing in order to become successful and have an impact.

And impact on your life or an impact on the lives of others.

Here’s what I think, and what this argument means for translators.

The Argument for Passion

You’ll never make an impact on anyone’s life (including your own) if you don’t believe in what you’re doing and are passionate about it.

You will only be going through the motions trying to get traction. However, when the going gets tough, you won’t have the motivation to stand in the fire and go through.

You’ll end up quitting because you weren’t emotionally invested in what you were doing.

Not only that, your customers, clients, and people you work with will be able to tell that you are not giving 100% of yourself to the work. They’ll take their work somewhere else to someone that loves what they do and can transfer that love into their work for their customers.

Passion is what makes the world go around.

Without passion, we’re a bunch of robots all in gray suits doing the same thing as everyone else.

The Argument Against Passion

Passion, smassion.

The people that invented passion are the ones that weren’t successful in what they were doing so they blamed it on a lack of passion instead of their own incompetence.

Passion does not equal proficiency at a job.

My dad was great at what he did for a living. Did he love it? No. But his customers were happy and his boss was happy.

If everyone in the world were to suddenly stop what they were doing as a job and then only do what they were passionate about, the world would come to a stand still.

You don’t have to have passion to be a success. And you don’t have to have passion to make an impact.

What it Means for Translators

People that aren’t translators often want to become translators because they are passionate about translating.

That’s the wrong approach.

I’m going to say something blasphemous here.

I am not passionate about translating.

I like it.

It’s something that I’m good at.

And I have plenty of experience in it.

But I wouldn’t say that I’m passionate about translating. It’s not something that I have to do everyday or I will feel incomplete.

By the same token, I am passionate about making sure I exercise every day. I know that if I miss a session, it will negatively impact the rest of my day.

But I don’t work in the fitness industry and have no plans to start. I wouldn’t know the first thing about teaching others about fitness.

But in terms of translation, I’ve found that I have some insights into the translation industry that might help others. And you, as readers, respond positively to those insights and keep my producing more content for you.

I wasn’t passionate about translating when I started. But I saw it as an opportunity to earn some money, help others, and learn.

The best way I’ve seen this explained is from Mike Rowe, who is well know for his work on Dirty Jobs.


I love how he puts it here.

“Never follow your passion, but bring your passion with you.”

P.S. Be successful with or without passion. Buy my book on 40 ways to succeed as a translator no matter what..

2 thoughts on “Does Passion Play a Role in Becoming a Successful Translator?”

  1. tahoar

    Clint, How do I contact you?

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