From Work Frustration to a Career in Translation

30 Jun 2015

Wise words with Yael Balandrano

Yael’s life changed when his best friend became deaf overnight.

As someone intrigued by signs, linguistics and methods of communication, Yael decided to leave his international pharmaceutical career to pursue a Master of Interpreting and Translation at UNSW.

“Two things happened that pushed me to explore study options and follow my plan B” says Yael.

“I was on a business trip and woke up in the hotel. It was yet another birthday where I was working day and night. I sat there blowing out birthday candles, surrounded by hotel staff with no one I actually knew or who cared for me - this was unsettling.”

“Around the same time my best friend woke up and lost his hearing. Within a week I found a postgraduate Interpreting and Translation program at UNSW and decided to make the move,” says Yael.

But even for an adventure-seeker like Yael, student-life has been an adjustment.

“The hardest part about being a student again at 36 is starting from scratch. I used to be an expert in my field, but now in my studies, I have so much to learn. This can make you depressed or excited, I choose to be excited.”

This passion and excitement did not go unnoticed by his tutors.

Yael was put forward as a candidate to work at the World Parks Congress in a conference-interpreting role alongside organisations like NASA and National Geographic.

It is these hands-on learning experiences, an integral part of his degree that drives Yael to continue along on his career-changing journey.

“During the conference my brain felt like it was split in seven places. I was full of adrenaline and afterwards I felt as though I had run a marathon. I enjoyed every minute of it and owe this opportunity to my lecturers.”

With one semester left, Yael plans to study, soak up Sydney’s lifestyle and entertains the idea of further interpreting study.

“I have options,” says Yael with a sense of stoic wisdom.

“My advice to anyone feeling even a little bit unsatisfied is this; fill void!”