Many people I’ve spoken to about my plans to go to England to study translating ask me a very normal question–“Why England and not Japan?”
And just these two days I actually felt doubts about my own decision. My Japanese isn’t mind-blowing nor is it at native level but I am fluent in it if I am not trying to be modest. Many times I’ve tried to play down my own capability due to my own doubts about my own capability and modesty but whenever I read up on what being “fluent” is, I fulfil what’s written there. I am just not a native speaker and having not lived there before, I am not ashamed to admit that I have YEARS to go to reach that level. But I am at peace with that fact for now =D
And those people who ask me the normal question up there, they don’t understand that being fluent in a language does not equate to the capability to express a sentence in a natural manner. The Japanese think my English is good enough, therefore I should go to Japan; the English speakers think my English is good enough, therefore I should go to Japan.
Wrong. Being natively fluent does not equate to the capability to communicate your translation smoothly and naturally into your native tongue. I am speaking this because I am from Singapore, where almost everyone is bilingual and almost everyone has flawed language capabilities due to their bilingualism. Over here, we are bilingual to know enough to communicate and survive but not knowing enough to deliver a fine translation. The Mandarin I speak is tainted and littered with English words here and there and personally, I dislike it (IT IS SUCH A BAD HABIT!!). My friend who has lived about a year in Japan agreed that living in Japan has messed with his English. And I will tell you, being bilingual here already messes with our English.
And because I am unwilling to sacrifice my native tongue, because I truly want to be excellent at translating into my target language, I have chosen England. Japan, my second home, can wait for me a little longer 🙂
P.S: Reading this gave me some courage.