Theory & Practice 理论与实践

In the field of translation, I've had many conversations with peers and professionals about the practicality of learning theories on translation studies and its application. What I'm about to touch on, applies to any career, any field, and any situation really. 

Driving is a skill that is taught through repeat practice. But when you are faced with a different traffic lights system in a new country, in that split second how do you make your decision whether to turn, or not? To stop or to go? Without basic driving theories, you can still drive - but you are effectively one road hazard posing danger to pedestrians and other traffic users every second you are behind the wheel. Without some theoretical knowledge, how many of us understand why a car moves when we engage gear and step on the accelerator, or what happens when you need to apply emergency brakes? Why does your car spin? 


Theories are formulated through repeat reasoning and critical thinking. Theories and practice goes hand in hand. Sure, there are organic musicians whom did not attend classes but learnt to play an instrument through pure curiosity and hard work. But do you think there is no thought process behind each attempt to understand how a sound comes out the way it does, what amount of pressure to apply in order to produce that resonating note? 

Do not segregate theories with practice - they bounce off each other. When you apply theory to practice, you are applying the logic you have concluded from multiple episodes of critical thinking. How YOU think from what you have come to learn. And through practice, you evaluate, critique, and think of improvements... and then you try again. 

No painter brush a stoke on his canvas until he has some form of idea on his end result. A photographer frames the picture in his mind before adjusting his lenses. 

Be it in translation, or going into an interview, managing a project or starting your own business, doing anything without thought is pointless. Just philosophizing without taking action, is futile as well. 

Cofounder of Solemates, Becca Brown interviewed Harvard graduates for the world's most prestigious investment bank Goldman Sachs. 

Brown says, “Obviously it’s important for any candidate to do research on the job prior to the interview, but those who connected their previous experiences and accomplishments (in college, internships, or full-time jobs) to the job for which they were interviewing, really stood out the most.

As a career coach in training and former recruitment consultant, I have interviewed too many candidates with impressive records - what we call "looking good, on paper", but failed splendidly once the conversation begins. 
Simple tip: be it an interview or pitching a business proposal, think in the shoes of your audience/recipient/interviewer. What are they looking for? No, really. What would catch their interest? How do you or your idea serve their interests? It's that simple. 

So, give it a thought. Always, give it a thought. Make it a good practice such that your mind is hardwired to process every piece of information it comes across - by sight, through hearing, or even touch, to crunch these information and turn it into your very own insights. Insights, are theories. Insights, guide behavior and actions. Action then triggers a chain of cause and effects that may lead you to success.

Jes Chan
Principal, JCInc.

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