The invisible woman


Postcard 1

I worked as an interpreter and translator for many years. You have seen so many places, you have traveled so much, I hear this quite often and it’s true. I have traveled and seen the world -as I always wanted to- and I got paid for doing so. 

It sounds like a dream job doesn’t it? Maybe it is, for someone like me, who wanted to see the world, but everything comes with a price. Working as an interpreter means you stay always hidden. You can never say what you want to say, you just translate from one language to another… words that have been spoken by someone else; even if they might be wrong. Interpreters are not there to judge or correct, they are there to translate the spoken word. The perfect interpreter thinks fast, talks fast and stays hidden, even when visible.

Working as a translator is pretty similar. Translating the written word -the article, the story or the book- is challenging as well. Finding the right tone, translating in the same style and without altering the content, it’s not as easy as it might seem. Books are known for their titles and people often know the name of the author, but nobody ever knows the name of the translator.

I became the invisible woman because of a wall tapestry and a stamp. I got my reward, my dreams came true and I saw the word and visited many of the places that I longed to see.


The wall tapestry was in my room when I was in child, it hung right above my bed; it showed an African village. There were people who had a different skin color; there were elephants, lions and giraffes and so much more. The people looked friendly, their clothes were colorful and the animals looked happy. I looked at it for many years and I made up stories in my mind, how it would be one day, when I would show up there. 

Then, one weekend when I came home from school, there was postcard waiting for me. The postcard was from Africa, written by a girl I went to boarding school with. She and her parents had traveled during summer vacation and she had thought about me.

I was mesmerized by the picture and the stamp; I carried the postcard around and showed it to everybody who was willing to listen to my story. One day I would visit Africa myself, I had no doubt.

I am not sure if there is such a thing as a dream job or the ultimate job; I believe everything has two sides. Sometimes we only look at the shiny side and forget the other side that is hidden in the dark.

As for me, my job fulfilled my dreams; I visited Africa and other places. I guess that made it a dream job.


postcard stamp



Money for Nothing

If you’re like most of us, you need to earn money by working for a living. Describe your ultimate job. If you’re in your dream job, tell us all about it — what is it that you love? What fulfills you? If you’re not in your dream job, describe for us what your ultimate job would be.

26 thoughts on “The invisible woman

  1. What interesting work you have/had. And I love the wall hanging. I was obsessed with countries and poured over atlases as a child and always knew that I would travel as there was so much world out there.

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  2. Yes, I think I can see how being a translator would make someone feel like they’re not really there. I never thought about it this way before, Bridget. As for my dream job? Hm. Anything that involved me just sleeping would literally be a dream job. Seriously, sleeping is the one thing I do astonishingly well. I could sleep for the Olympics! 😛

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    • I was very lucky, some of my wishes came true. We were not able to have children, first I thought about it as a curse. Then we adjusted. I couldn’t have taken all the jobs I took if all my wishes would have came true.

      Maybe I got what I wanted the most. The universe has it’s own rulings.

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    • Yes, I did for over 20 years. It was an interesting journey. You should have seen me when I left the plan in Africa for the first time. I am absolutely certain that I made a fool out of myself and I am very grateful that there weren’t any cell phones back then. 🙂

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        • German, Italian and Hindi. If you look at Europe you will see that all the countries are pretty close together, so most of us learn another language already as children and later on in school we get tortured with Latin and Old Greek when we go to the gymnasium and with English or French in the middle schools. Most Americans don’t really see the need to learn a second language.


  3. Although I was employed as an export clerk, I was more or less the person in the company that did the english translations. My boss would dictate in Swiss German and I would automatically write it down in english (steno). I once did an interpretation. The big boss held a lecture and I had the earphones and microphone to interpret direct in english to the visitors. It was interesting work. Translating is not easy, you have to be exact above all and not alter the meaning that the author wanted. A good description of being the invisible woman.

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