Last Friday I finished a project on Pediatric Oncology. My project manager told me it was a Power Point file about medicine. Before translating it as usual, I read it once and then a second a time. I sat in front of my computer and when I started translating it, I just felt powerless.

The week before it was about engineering, and now it was about taking care of kids with cancer. I´ve never felt this way, but honestly and for the first time, I was touched with the topic I was translating.

I love Medicine. I was a Medical English Teaching Assistant in my last year at the University and I really enjoy translating about medicine –it’s my best topic. It was my first time with Pediatric Oncology and it was also the first time I felt uncomfortable with a project.

So I came up with this question, how do we deal with those uncomfortable feelings when translating certain topics?

I think it all comes down to our level of emotional intelligence, but, what is it? What can I do to build it up? Am I an “emotionally intelligent” person?

[I forgot to mention that my mom had three types of cancer, she did treatment twice in her life, she was operated on other three times, and she passed away almost two years ago.]

So, according to specialist Álvaro Tineo, emotional intelligence concerns several aspects: dealing with our emotions, dealing with other people’s emotions and knowing how to treat people.[1]So,when you recognize your emotions, then you are able to understand others and take control of different kinds of situations appropriately.

On the other side, Psychologist and writer Valeria Sabater mentions in her article Cómo aplicar la inteligencia emocional en el trabajo (How to Apply Emotional Intelligence at Work) that this type of intelligence is not only essential for becoming a leader, but also for being efficient and take full advantage of our labor situation.[2]

Finally, similar to what I wrote in my last post about resilience, we are not emotionally intelligent, but we can develop abilities to take control of our reality and our emotions. This is what I did last week. My mind went blank and it took me a couple of days to realize it was because of my mom. And this is one of the tips below that I want to share with you and that will guide you towards improving your emotional intelligence:

Self-awareness: This allows you to understand your feelings and in this way enhance your performance at work and be kind to others.

Empathy: This allows you to understand other people’s feelings andcreate opportunities. Therefore, you can boost the abilities of the ones working with you, foresee and pay attention to their needs.

Self-control: Once you are aware of your feelings, you can guide them productively, which means being able to transform difficult tasks into easy ones and bring effective results. Of course you will go through negative emotions, but now you can control your impulses, manage responsibilities, and improve your adaptability and receptivity to new ideas.

Motivation: This is the feeling that keeps you firmly on track to achieve your goals, also to align them to the ones of the company or agency you are working with. Motivation lets you take full advantage of opportunities and commit yourself to being successful.

I know that most freelance translators work alone, but there’s always another person behind a new project. It’s important that we feel comfortable not only with the topic, but also with ourselves in order to do our best.

Personally, I accepted a job that I didn’t know was going to move me, and after reliving some bittersweet moments, I could learn to manage my feelings and finish the task on time. I hope these tips are useful whenever you feel overwhelmed with what you are translating.






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