Ronald Buur


Hedonic refugee


Do you ever have this feeling that, say, the stork got a bit lost on its way and accidentally dropped you in the wrong country? Well, I am sure that is exactly what happened to me in 1970 when I was born. In the Netherlands of all places! It did not take me long though to correct that innocent mistake, and soon I found myself sipping tea in an English tearoom whilst still in my twenties.


After getting bored in a couple of dead-end jobs, I stumbled across an invitation to do a test as the Dutch to English translator for Pokémon, which was extremely popular in the late 90s and still enjoys a loyal following. Without any experience whatsoever, I was chosen from a shortlist of a dozen or so seasoned translators. I must be good at this, I thought, and soon after I was doing more and more translations for other agencies.


Truth be told, I was not actually qualified as a translator and decided to do something about it. I took up a correspondence course and meanwhile ditched my office job for a freelance career in translating. Two years into the 4-year correspondence course, I ran out of patience and decided to sit my exams at the Chartered Institute of Linguists in London and passed. I must be good at this, I thought, and I never finished the course!


As my career started to blossom, I became more and more professional, acquiring more professional tools such as SDL Trados Studio and reliable reference works. That is when I came across The Legal and Economic Lexicon by Aart van den End. I quickly recognised that the quality of this dictionary was far superior to anything I had used before, both in terms of volume and linguistic competence. Whenever I put in my two cents’ worth by clicking on the feedback button, I often got a positive response from the author and expert, Mr Aart van den End. I must be good at this, I thought, and he actively encouraged me to become ‘a critic’.


Looking back now, I am glad that stork had a bit of an off day. I enjoy the best of both worlds and still visit the Netherlands on a regular basis. In today’s world with the mass movement of people, I consider myself a hedonic refugee with indefinite leave to remain.