This is where I come from.
My path that led to languages as a profession
Languages already fascinated me as a child.
How I envied my various Iranian, Polish and Yugoslav friends in elementary school because they could handle at least two languages! At high school, I later learned Latin, English and French, attended the supplementary Italian course and was even able to choose Japanese as a chosen subject.
When I was in the fifth form, our divinity teacher held up an English text that she wanted to discuss and asked who knew enough English to translate it into German for all of us. As was expected, that task was allotted to me – the languages fan – and it was one that I was delighted to take on. I sat for a long time translating this A4 page (if I remember correctly, it was about an African creation myth), for a “real” English text was indeed something other than the textbook texts that I knew. I was totally engrossed in it because it simply gave me so much pleasure. So it was then that at the tender age of 15 years, I already knew that one day, I wanted to earn my living with the translation of texts.
Which came to be.
After high school, I went to Japan in 1992 for a year to learn the language as is only possible in the country where that language is in everyday use. I stayed with a Japanese host family, working at a Waldorf school, a kindergarten and also an animal hospital (where I not only learned medical-Japanese, but also, for example, how to hold cats so that they cannot scratch, and how to measure fever in dogs). Parallel to this, I gave English lessons and tutoring in German and learned lovely baby Japanese in the course of babysitting (finding a little friend for life).
In 1993, I started at the Humboldt University in Berlin with the degree course of translation studies, graduating with a diploma at the beginning of 2000. Right after that, I started my own business and have been working in my dream job as a freelance translator since the turn of the millennium.