by Alejandra Ramírez Olvera
Crisis—or a miracle, depending on how you see it—is what got me into the world of AVT. Financial, emotional, and existential crisis.
In 2008, as a recent college graduate with more questions than answers and the equivalent of a Summa Cum Laude in my pocket but completely burned out, I set out to find a job amid a global economic crisis. With no desire to work as a visual communicator for the rest of my life (see burn out), I sought something that’d pay the bills and take me far away (geographically too, hopefully) from my former life.
Cue the newspaper ad asking for people interested in languages and translation and movies and TV to apply for an apprenticeship.
Now, these were different times, and the advertiser was no big, fancy company, but a single freelance AV translator in need of someone to whom to delegate; a generous colleague eager to show a stranger—with the right skills and traits—the ropes of the dubbing-for-translation world.
I had already answered a similar ad (with disastrous results) but still went to the interview. Such was my desperation—and self-assurance around my command of the English language and my mother tongue. My sensei and I immediately clicked. They gave me a crash course in translation for dubbing (back then there were next to no educational opportunities to learn the trade) and plenty of chances to practice my newfound skills, assertively correcting my mistakes and constantly praising my “innate abilities” (their words, not mine). Eventually, when they thought I was ready, they recommended me to a dubbing studio.
We didn’t tell them I was a newbie. It was time to prove myself. And I guess I did: 14 years later, after a stint living and studying in Scandinavia, another crisis, a certificate in AVT plus many standalone courses, I still translate and adapt for dubbing. I’ve even had the chance to close the circle, teaching that which I once learned from this incredibly giving, positive and supportive human being who believed in me and redirected my life.
So yeah… newspaper ad, word-of-mouth, a fair amount of trauma and more than a sprinkle of miraculous light —doused in bilingual education I received throughout life— got me to where I am.