Before there were languages in my life, there was music – which in itself is a language as well, as I’m well aware. So I guess taking the step from a universal language to specific ones was not such a big one after all.
But I never forgot my first language, in fact, I never left it; I merely shifted priorities around regarding what is part of my professional life and what is part of my private life (although these distinctions sometimes get a bit blurry).
There are two hearts that beat within my chest, and depending on the situation, they switch places beating louder. And that is a good thing. If both of them were beating at the same volume, as it were, I could neither enjoy the music nor work 100% at translating.
When I work, I need silence. I know, there are many colleagues who have the radio (or whatever else preferred player) on in the background, but I can’t work that way. It’s extremely rare that I have (calm instrumental) music playing, and then only if I proofread, never when I have to think creatively (i.e. translate). Too loud or with lyrics, and I’m listening to the words or singing along.
Usually, this “division of labor” between my two hearts works wonderfully, but sometimes, there’s a hitch in the system – namely when there’s a song stuck in my head and keeps playing there no matter what I do.
When that happens, there is really little I can do, to be honest. Trying to get the song out is usually futile, unless the translation I am working on is of the more difficult variety, requiring all of my attention – and gripping enough for that concentration to take over completely.
So the only option remaining is to either have the song play in the background very quietly in an attempt to pacify the “earwig” (in German, a song stuck in your head is called an “Ohrwurm”) or to accept the fact that it will pop up in my mind – and sometimes on my lips – at any time, and then try to ignore it and get back to translating.
And so that you can start your weekend with a little “earwig” yourself, here’s “Ohrwurm” with English subtitles by the German a capella group “Wise Guys” – enjoy!