Lesson 120: Personality and translation: navigating the profession between analysts, diplomats, sentinels and explorers.
Personality and translation is the topic for me this month. Following my last week’s post on introverts and extraverts, I wanted to explore the aspect of personalities a bit more. Based on MBTI, several tests and theories have developed underlining the dichotomies between four factors: extraversion/introversion, sensing/intuition, thinking/feeling, judging/perception.
One of the theories that I find most interesting, as described in 16personalities, categorises these dichotomies into four roles (the inner layer: goals, interests and preferred activities): analysts, diplomats, sentinels and explorers. Let’s see how personality and translation could be analysed together.
Personality and translation: different personality types
Analysts “embrace rationality and impartiality, excel in intellectual debates and scientific or technological fields.” Analysts engage in strategic thinking and try to find solutions that work for everybody (at the cost of social and romantic pursuits, apparently). Analysts work great in terms of systems thinking, that is seeing the situation as a whole. When comes to the translation industry, my theory is that analysts quickly turn into consultants that help companies implement or improve their existing language management processes, or if they stay translators, they take on jobs that require analysing the situation as a whole and suggesting the most appropriate course of action – perhaps transcreation?
Diplomats apparently “focus on empathy and cooperation, shining in diplomacy and counselling.” They take active roles harmonising workplaces and social circles, but may struggle to incorporate cold rationality into their thinking and make tough choices. Without a surprise, I think that the majority of diplomats take on leading roles in our industry and become chairs or presidents of associations or set up local meetups.
Sentinels “are cooperative and highly practical, embracing and creating order, security and stability wherever they go.” Must be those who organise translation conferences, since they’re also great in logistical and administrative tasks. It seems to me that there aren’t that many sentinels in our industry, at least I didn’t come across many of them.
Explorers seem to be on the opposite end of the scale from me. They’re most spontaneous and adapt quickly with ability to react. They’re the ones who start using new tools straight away and know how to act in crisis. They’re great at selling. In my opinion, we do have a strong group of explorers in our industry, people who always welcome new tools and try them out before anybody else. The daredevils, if you like, often becoming tool vendors or trainers.
I agree that this is a very rough division and based on such an intangible thing as personality, but I found it an interesting exploration. Do you agree with my suggestions? Do you think there’s a link between personality and translation?