Let’s just not give an example of a tennis player, a singer, an actor, or a believer. I’ll just give an example of myself.
Since my childhood, I’ve been a fond of writing. It wasn’t until 2006 when I realized I had a passion of writing. I started writing on a community Bangla blog and became literally addicted to it. I kept writing. A year later, I was recruited by a national newspaper to write for its technology section.
It wasn’t rare for kids my age at that time to write for newspaper, because almost every newspaper has a dedicated section for kids. But I was the youngest kid, probably in the country, to write serious [tech] news on a national newspaper.
However, the journey continued; and into the third year since my beginning of writing, I realized I wasn’t meeting my goals. I wasn’t even walking towards my goal.
I wanted to write in English.
Fast forward to present time, I’m still writing for newspaper in Bangla and I want to write in English for some int’l media I set up this blog in 2008 as my first attempt to write and practice English. Am I any closer to that dream? No. Because I missed an opportunity of doing an internship in New York University because I did not have two years of experience in working with English media which was a requirement of applying to that internship. Guess what, I had more years of experience, just not in English.
So lately, I’ve been giving more time in writing English than in Bangla. There are enormous opportunities in writing Bangla content for the web, and if I wanted to be a journalist in Bangladesh, I am on the 100% right track (miles ahead of many in my field as I work for the most prestigious newspaper), but the investment of time and energy is too big and too lengthy. So I’ve taken the risk and I’m writing in English more than in Bangla. I can’t stop writing Bangla yet, because right now that’s my job and my project of Android-focused blog, Android Kothon, which grew enormously popular over the year in Bangladesh for being the first of its kind in Bangla. (I’ve launched an English version of it.)
I’m also reading English newspaper more than ever. I’m reading English fiction to better understand sentence structuring, learn new vocabularies and phrases. I’ve also been writing on various topics as you might have noticed in the past few weeks on this blog.
Then someone emailed me asking whether I’d be interested in doing a translation job. He said that I needed to translate some Bangla articles into English, articles that are mostly related to current affairs in Bangladesh. I wasn’t sure, but since he emailed me seeing my writings, I felt positive and confident. I wrote a trial article and he was more than satisfied with it. I agreed to do it because of the challenge, the possibility to learn new words in the process of writing.
I delivered by first batch of translation work a few days ago and in a response received today, the client said that there were some sentences, about five or six of them, that didn’t quite reflect their Bangla counterparts.
And that’s all it takes to lose confidence.
I did email him back asking to pinpoint the lines that weren’t translated correctly, but I still feel at loss. Am I chasing the wrong dream? Is it that impossible to be fluent and above-average, top-of-the-quality English writer not being in an English-speaking environment or country? What if I keep writing in English for another few years only to discover myself at the bottom of what I have built over the past few years in the Bangla ecosystem of content on the web and my position in the industry? (I’m lucky to be writing for the most-circulated, leading Bangla newspaper in Bangladesh.)
For now, I’ll still be writing Bangla (because there’s a future, however thin, at the end of this tunnel), but my passion to give time and energy in improving English is literally at stake.
I woke up about half an hour earlier and my passion in writing in English is now half of what I had when I went to sleep. It really does that a moment to lose confidence, doesn’t it?