Gone are the days of retiring at 60 or 65 and spending long years enjoying peace, quiet and generous pensions. In the UK, the government is warning youngsters that the state pension may not even exist by the time they are ready to call it a day.
Translation should be the type of job that we can do into later life, provided they don’t invent some kind of technology to completely replace us, which they haven’t managed so far. I always try to keep up with new developments so I don’t get squeezed out by more tech-savvy newcomers, and learn new software all the time.
But however swanky your computer equipment, your IT knowledge and willingness to evolve and change, your career as a translator will be over if you lose your focus and memory. While writers (and even presidents) can get away with garbling stream of consciousness nonsense, if you are a translator, misplace a comma or pick the wrong verb, and you’ll be out on your ear.
That means having a sharp brain so we need to look after ourselves, not get worn out, and keep our brains working at optimal levels for as long as possible. How? With a healthy lifestyle and diet. I know that if I drink a couple of glasses of wine, the next day my performance is affected. If I have a particularly stressful day, my grey matter releases chemicals that cause inflammation, and that affects how I think and feel.
So, what do we need to do and eat to keep our brains running long-term? Superfoods are the best. Avocados, for example, may be a bit fattening, but they are packed with vitamins that stabilise blood sugar levels and contain vitamin K and folate, that prevent blood clots in the brain. Their effect on cognitive function is good for the memory and concentration, making them a top food for translators.
Beetroot and blueberries are on every healthy shopping list. They also reduce inflammation and contain masses of antioxidants including vitamin C and K, and fibre. What’s more, they taste great!
We all know that broccoli is good for you, but did you know that it contains choline, that keeps the memory sharp? This substance is also found in egg yolks.
One of the most powerful brain foods known to man is extra virgin olive oil. It contains polyphenols that improve learning and memory and can even reverse ageing and disease. Add to green leafy vegetables and you have a supercharged memory boosting compound.
Mix in some exercise and try not to get stressed out and, who knows, we may be working away in our eighties, better than ever, with all the experience we have amassed over our long, healthy lives.