A German, a Russian, and a Thai walk into a bar… On the importance of breathing :-)

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    The place is overcrowded, and the three struggle to get to the counter.

    The German tries to convince the crowd to form an orderly queue, but annoys the patrons and gets thrown out of the bar.

    While the fuss is taking place, the Russian tries to sneak to the bartender, but gets noticed and is thrown out too.

    A few minutes later, the Thai walks out of the bar, happily smiling and obviously inebriated.

    “You rascal, how did you manage to get booze?”, ask the other two.

    “Oh, I didn’t,” He replies. “But I was breathing so deep that the air got me woozy.”

    This story (and the post below) might be full of stereotypes, but it underlines the amazing quality I keep noticing in the Thai people.

    Where (stereotypical) Germans try to change the system to make it comfortable for living, or (stereotypical) Russians try to cheat it to make their living comfortable in it, (stereotypical) Thais change what “comfortable” means for them and live on, come hell or high water. Quite literally, by the way — in these four months, I’ve seen people challenging waist-deep floods while laughing and chatting to each other.

    I’ve also seen business owners with six-figure incomes taking a nap on makeshift beds or right on the floor in their shops. When asked if they had anywhere else to go, they would give me a quizzical look — they were quite comfortable where they were.

    Now, it’s not to say that (stereotypical) Thais are angels: I still get frustrated when I think of my landlord Yod’s (that’s right) not being able to get his workers to fix our plumbing for three months in a row. But, having lived here for these three months, I am now much more relaxed (spiritual?) in my frustration.

    So what does this all have to do with translators?

    We tend to get frustrated a lot.

    Sometimes a job turns out too complex, and our hourly rate plunges.

    Other times we have to engage in two-hour discussions over a term with clients or proofreaders.

    And all too often we feel underappreciated by the “industry.”

    What I’m saying is: It’s great to find a way to thrive within this industry despite all its deficiencies.

    It’s even greater to be actively changing it for the better.

    But it also makes sense to remember — at least every once in a while — that, hey, it’s not that bad after all.

    Or is it?

    Originally posted on Ab HoC.

    Vladimir Zakharov

    About Vladimir Zakharov

    A translator with 15 years of experience, now Head of Community at http://SmartCAT.ai — a platform that will change the translation industry and give the power back to translators.

    4 thoughts on “A German, a Russian, and a Thai walk into a bar…

    1. I loved it! I am Argentinean and I used to feel like in a blind alley too: being a young mom, with no professional experience, far from big cities, and then I found a way to go on specilizing and reconciling work and family life. Thank you for reminding us that we have to stay calm if we want to continue along the translation path.

          1. I did — especially the last one, which was published on my birthday 🙂

            But I meant your story of going from “being a young mom with no professional experience” to “finding a way.” Did I miss it?

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