In one of my very first translation classes, the prof asked us to think about how we'd translate a short English sentence into French. The sentence was grammatically simple and contained three words that rhymed. (I'm not posting it here because it will become googleable and ruin my prof's whole lesson plan.) The point of this lesson was to discuss the various factors that many need to be translated. Are we after the meaning of the sentence? Are we after a rhyme? Do we need to convey its brevity and simplicity?
My classmates seemed to find this a reasonably easy request and immediately began discussing it. But I was panicking, because I didn't even know how to say one of the three key words in French! I felt in over my head and desperately out of my league! It was only the first or second classes ever, and already I couldn't handle it even though every else could!
So I frantically and stealthily looked up the word I didn't know in the dictionary, and discovered that if I used the first word in the dictionary entry and the most straightforward translation of the two other key words, I could have two out of the three key words rhyme. And if I replaced the third word with another word that would fit nicely into the sentence and create a similar image, I could have all three rhyme.
(As an analagous example, suppose looking in the dictionary led me to "Bite the red kite." If the rhyme scheme was more important than the meaning of the actual words, I could use "Bite the white kite.")
It seemed so glaringly obvious! This was quite clearly the correct answer!
But why weren't any of my classmates coming up with the same thing? They were coming up with all these things that were way different and no one had even touched on the words I had in mind...this must mean there's something wrong with my idea! So I said nothing the whole class and felt in way over my head.
This memory came to mind in the shower the other day, 13 years after the fact, with 10 years' professional experience under my belt. And I realized: my idea was perfectly good! It may well even be the optimal translation! It was more effective at rendering both the meaning of the original and the rhyme scheme than what my classmates were suggesting, even after 10 years' experience I can't think of anything better, and, even if something better exists, any competent translator would agree that my idea was a perfectly valid attempt. And I was still a teenager at the time!
I was so afraid at that time. I was surrounded by people who had been to immersion and on exchanges and could use slang and real-life accents, and I felt so hideously incompetent in comparison. But I knew my shit, way better than I could even have imagined.
(Which makes the conventional wisdom that teenagers and young adults think they know everything all the more frustrating.)